The 7 Lochs – 7 Days Swim Challenge

by University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom

The 7 Lochs – 7 Days Swim Challenge
We did it
On 14th September 2020 we successfully raised £1,627 ( + est. £321.75 Gift Aid ) with 71 supporters in 56 days

The 7 Lochs – 7 Days Swim Challenge in support of the University of Stirling Student Hardship Fund.

by University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

All donations will go towards the Stirling Student Hardship Fund.


I am Dr Phia Steyn and I teach African History at the University of Stirling. Between 9-15 August 2020 I will be attempting to swim the full lengths of 7 Scottish freshwater lochs in 7 days, and will be raising funds for the Student Hardship Fund of the University of Stirling in the process. All the money raised on this page will go straight to the Student Hardship Fund, and nothing will be used to cover any expenses

Why support this Fund?

Very many of my students have benefitted from the Student Hardship Fund in the past, and I am really conscious that the need amongst Stirling students are greater than ever at the moment. Financing life, holding down a part-time job and studying can be a struggle at the best of times, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. Many Stirling University students are facing deep uncertainty and associated heightened anxiety after losing their jobs. This in turn has increased the number of students needing urgent help from the Student Hardship Fund and as a staff member of the University, I am doing my bit to help through my swimming challenge.

Nature of the swim challenge

All 7 lochs that I will be attempting are on the list of the Top 30 longest Scottish freshwater lochs. They have been chosen for their length (between 8 and 11km, which is the maximum length I can swim self-supported) and accessibility by car on both ends of the lochs. I will be accompanied and assisted on this trip by my friend Janine Mitchell, who is a PhD student in Creative Writing at Stirling University. Each day Janine will drop me off at the one end of the loch, and pick me up again at the other end a few hours later. The swims will be self-supported swims and I will be towing all my water and food in an orange tow float behind me. Apart from the tow float, I will be swimming under so-called Channel Conditions: this means that I will be wearing only a swimming costume (think Speedo-like), one silicone swim cap, and a pair of goggles.

The swim challenge will start on 9 August with Loch Naver (9.5km), followed by Loch Hope (10 Aug, 9.87 km), Loch Assynt (11 Aug, 10.24km), Loch Luichart (12 Aug, 8.12km), Loch Garry (13 Aug, 11km), Loch Laggan (14 Aug, 11.33km) and Loch Mhór (15 Aug, 7.8km). The aim will be to start early in the morning, but ultimately start times will be determined by weather conditions. I am not the fastest swimmer out there and on average take about 4h for 10km in Scottish freshwater lochs.

Progress and getting in touch

During the challenge daily updates will be posted on Facebook, and live feed links will be provided to allow you to follow the swims in real time.

Facebook details: 


Challenge hashtag: #7Lochs7Days

 All queries can be sent to the Advancement team at- '[email protected]'.

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