Exactly five weeks to the day until I will be embarking on my next wild swimming adventure. The adventure involves swimming across Scotland from the west coast (Fort William) to the east coast (Inverness) of Scotland. The preliminary itinerary is as follows:
One of my biggest concerns when I decided to commit to this adventure was finding paddlers. The day after I announced the ‘Swimming Across Scotland’ adventure, my work mates were asking me questions about the trip. I told them I was looking for two full-time paddlers for Scotland, and one of them told me that he was interested straight away. His name was Luke Palmer. The following day Luke confirmed that he and his wife Claire, could join me and Caitriona for the whole trip. Luke is someone I get on very well with, so I was delighted to have him and Claire join us on the trip.
Caitriona, Claire, Luke and I, have been preparing for this trip for the last few weeks now. I learned loads from my last adventure, The River Severn. We will be implementing all that we learned on the last trip into this one. I feel much better about this adventure, as the preparation has been much better. The four of us bounce ideas off each other most days, through our Whats App group.
Last weekend the four of us went down to Porthcawl for our first swim/paddle together. The wind was very strong and it was blowing in the opposite direction of the tide. We had ferocious waves to contend with and we swam from Coney Beach to Rest Bay. It felt like I was in a tumble dryer just getting bashed around. What a feeling though! You just got to go with the waves.
Thankfully I had great company in the water in Gavin Lewis, who is training for his English Channel swim in a few weeks. We also had Ceri on a kayak for extra support. He was the navigator for the day, as Gav and myself couldn’t see much with the oncoming waves.
I spooked Gav a few times during the beginning of the swim. As I pulled through the water I hit what felt like the top of a seal. I stopped and told Gav. We kept swimming and then it happened again. I was convinced there was something under me. We continued on and very shortly afterwards, we both realised that what I was hitting were big jelly fish. When the water is rough they tend to stay a few feet below the surface of the water. We were swimming through swarms of them. Swimming in the sea is somehting I haven’t been doing this year at all, as I was first training for the River Severn and now training for Scotland, which is mainly lakes. Getting back into the sea and getting bashed around by the waves was something I missed greatly of late.
Gavin Lewis is raising money for Owen Williams. Owen is a Welsh International rugby player who was seriously injured out in Singapore whilst playing for the Cardiff Blues in June 2014. Owen Williams received a significant and life changing injury to his spinal chord. Gav has a fundraising target of £5,000, and already has raised about £1,700.
Owen Williams’ story is a heart-breaking one.
You can donate to Gav’s Just Giving page here: