Swimming in the Clunie River

Yesterday was another warm day and we swam in the Clunie River in Braemar. It was refreshing, crystal clear, and home to lots of juvenile trout. The trout ranged in size from tiny to an adult that was at least half a metre long. They can live for 10 to 20 years apparently and are quite territorial. I got a photo of one of the smaller ones from above the water surface. It’s in the very centre of this next photo – you may need to zoom in a bit.

Braemar is looking splendid and also very busy. More people are holidaying locally because of covid and beauty spots around the country are full of British tourists.

The butcher in Braemar stocks lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and even some vegan food. It’s the white building, left of centre in the next photo. The world is definitely changing when the country village butcher stocks vegan burgers.

River swimming is fast becoming a favourite activity of ours. The fresh water is soft and lovely, there’s no sand which is annoying and ends up everywhere, and there are also trees by a river which are not just not just good for shade: they also look attractive.

I feel a bit bad sharing our experiences of this wonderful corner of the world in which we live, especially knowing how lucky we have to have an abundance of clean, fresh water when other countries in the world are running out of water. All I can say in my defence is I don’t take any of it for granted and I know full well how lucky we are. We also leave no trace that we have been there and if we see other peoples’ litter we pick it up and put it in the bin.

5 Replies to “Swimming in the Clunie River”

  1. I don’t think you should apologize for enjoying the abundance of fresh, clear water in your area, Rachel. I’m speaking as a resident of drought-stricken, heat waving California! I live near a river that in normal times, would be dangerous to swim in because the current is swift and deep. Now, it’s just a ditch of slow moving green water. It’s still dangerous—there’s a ledge that fools people into thinking the water is shallow, until it suddenly drops off into a dark, deep abyss. Only now, the shallow part is completely exposed, so you can walk (if you want to: it’s disgustingly smelly and mucky) up to the edge of the deep middle. I wouldn’t swim in it, if only because there’s agricultural residue in the water, which is probably concentrated by now. I wonder how the fish can survive, unless they’re all hiding in the murky bottom.

    Anyway, I appreciate your pictures and the fact you live in a place with such lovely rivers. I enjoy swimming as well, but this year the pools are either closed or limited to half capacity, and the natural swimming areas—well, if there’s water in them at all, it doesn’t look safe to even wade into.

    1. Oh dear, that does not sound good at all. Which river is it? If there’s enough political will the situation can change and a river can be cleaned up. The River Don in Sheffield was terribly polluted by the steel industry in the 1800s but after a 20-year cleanup project salmon have returned to the river again in the past few years. It’s a wonderful story and gives hope for polluted waterways the world over – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/salmon-found-in-river-don-at-sheffield

      1. It’s the Sacramento River. It’s polluted not so much by industrial waste as by agricultural runoff. The state has taken measures to limit the amount of pesticides and fertilizer spilling into the natural rivers and ocean; if you go further down to the delta you will see plenty of salmon, striped bass and other fish. Closer to the mountains where the source of the river is located, you also see more fish, but it’s that in-between stretch where the water is less clean and more turgid. I do have hope for our rivers and coastal waters, but with the possibility of a two-year long drought facing us, talking about water pollution may be moot. Some people are talking about desalination plants being built to pull drinkable water from the ocean, but no one knows what the impact on sealife will be. Plus the Pacific is known to have high levels of mercury in it, and I don’t know if we have the technology to remove heavy metals from seawater.

      2. New Zealand has the same problem with agricultural runoff polluting the rivers there and making them unsafe for swimming. There’s a lot of dairy farming in the south island.

  2. I’ve started reading German news recently and their population is starting to ask for more protection for the climate because they feel so affected by recent events. But despite there being climate related disturbance in the USA, this pressure does not see to be widespread there. I guess it is cultural.
    Both my kids hate sand and find it very annoying because it gets everywhere.

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