Day one started with optimism in the air. The day was finally here, by the time we lay down our head at the end of the day, we’d all be in Scotland… We’ll that’s what we thought.

To start the day, we picked up the two paddle boards from Puravida Boardriders, they are an amazing outfit, and have helped us out big time (both with this trip, and our training) and we can not thank them enough. After picking up the boards everything seemed to be going well… Almost too well. That all changed, and in quite a dramatic way.

We picked up the car, which wasn’t too bad, but they put us behind schedule by about 30 mins. “Grand we thought, we’re now on our way, time to pack up the car”. After finally finding a parking space outside our place, we packed up our car and went on our merry way. The only problem so far was the slight time delay, and the gut wrenching feeling that we are not fitting much more in this car…
Upon arriving at Luke Palmer and Claire Palmer‘s, we saw the amount of stuff they had, and our hearts sunk. There was more stuff between the four of us than would fit into the car, even without people in there, we needed a new plan, and quick!

After half hour of brainstorming, it became clear that the only option was to take a second car, the only problem was, we didn’t have one. So after some ringing round we managed to source a second car and things were looking up again, until we found out it couldn’t be picked up till four o clock. It is a nine hour drive to Gavin’s house up in Galashiels (via Luke’s home town to drop off some bits that needed delivering urgently). Something had to give.

Finally, things were decided. Caitriona Hurley and I were going to get a head start and get ourselves to Galashiels, and be up there in about six hours to get to Gavin’s house in time for dinner. With Luke and Claire following behind to get half way to Fort William by stopping at Anita’s in Manchester. Things were looking up, well, after the start of the day we had, things could only get better? No. The trip up to Galashiels was a nightmare, with everything that could delay us, delaying us. We hit every rush hour, car crash and roadworks that occurred that day (or so it seemed). By the time we reached Gavin’s we had not only missed tea time, bed time and every other time of a day (apart from midnight, we just got there in time to see midnight), we were too tired to eat.

Luke and Claire’s journey didn’t start much better, after getting the car booked for four o clock, it was nearly five when they finally got in it to leave. Yep, leaving Cardiff at 5pm on a Friday, what could go wrong? They were tight on time and heading up to their home town for a quick stop off on the way. And it quickly became apparent they weren’t going to make Manchester until nearly midnight. So Luke’s mum offered to drive out about an hour to some services around Birmingham to avoid us doing that exact same journey. Saving them nearly on two hours, and allowing them to reach Manchester at 10pm.

Ross O' Sullivan - Swimming Across Scotland

As we were both nearing our destinations, the sun started to set. The sky lit up in amazing reds, oranges and yellows and it was just an incredible sight to drive towards. “Was this a sign that our luck was starting to change?” We hoped so, as we were starting to think tomorrow must get better than this? Not a great start, but then what story ever told started with the best bits all happening at the beginning?

Day 1 – Swimming Across Scotland