THEY said they would swim The Big Minch and this week eight swimmers, three kayakers and a trio of support boat crew crossed the 45 mile open water channel from the north west fishing port of Ullapool to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Departing Ullapool at middayon Monday, June 25th, The Big Minch Swim Team arrived in Stornoway 34 hours later at 10pm on Tuesday, June 26th, after a continuous relay swim.
The swimmers averaged a speed of 1.5knots and during the crossing were escorted by seals, dolphins and even a pod of six or seven Orca whales.
Team leader, Saul Hindson, said: “When I originally spoke to swimmer Colin Macleod about the pier to pier challenge never did I imagine that we could first of all persuade/find anyone else mad enough to join us and secondly find the support vessel and crew to assist us along the way. Just amazing that Murdani Macdonald of Island Cruising had the same idea and we were introduced, the rest they say is history.
“Some of the team I have known for a number of years and others not so long but to say I am immensely proud of each and every one for what they have achieved over the past 34hrs would be a massive understatement. It hasn’t come easy though – hours of training every week sacrificing many of their normal activities to make sure they were ready for the challenge, and oh boy ‘were they ready’!
“What an adventure the past few days has been, 45mins swims with what seemed like very little time between each leg, no sleep, eating when you can, massive whales, pods of Orca (that stopped play for ten minutes), dolphins swimming a long side swimmers, floating boots and high spirits from everyone involved.
“The welcome we received on our arrival home was beyond belief and brought a salty tear to my eye. What next?”
The swimmers were: Saul Hindson, Colin Macleod, Rodney Jamieson, Chris Baker, Scott Connor, Laura Maynard, Eilidh Whiteford and Mark ‘Doug’ Maciver. Unable to take part in the challenge were swimmers Tariq Hussain and reserve swimmer Douglas Forbes.
The swimmers were accompanied by kayakers Mark Strokes, PJ Maclachlan and Alistair Glover.
And escorting the team was Murdani Macdonald of Lewis company Island Cruising who donated the time and use of the boat MV Cuma, along with support crew Michaela Macdonald and Finlay Maciver.
The Big Minch Swim Team would like to express their thanks to Caledonian MacBryanes, Stornoway Port Authority, Stornoway stores WeeW and WJ Macdonald Butchers, and Ullapool Port Authority.
And HUGE thanks goes to everyone who has supported and donated to the team’s challenge raising at present a staggering £8,000 for the RNLI.
Donations are still being received on The Big Minch Swim Just Giving site at www.justgiving.com/thebigminchswim
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