Island swimmer faces test of time, tide and cold
AN endurance swimmer is to embark on five extreme swims around five islands of the UK and Mediterranean to raise money for charity.
Anna Wardley, from Gosport, Hampshire, is hoping to raise £50,000 from a series of fundraising swims which she has called her Turning the Tide campaign.
The money she raises will be shared between The Samaritans, Toe in the Water – a sailing charity for injured service personnel – and Sail Africa, which aims to improve the life chances of disadvantaged young people.
Her latest challenge is to swim around the islands of Dragonera (Mallorca, Spain), Portsea (Portsmouth, Hampshire), Jersey, Tiree and the Isle of Wight.
The 36-year-old said the most difficult of the swims would be around Tiree because of its strong tides and “bitterly” cold water which she will be braving without a wetsuit.
Wardley said: “Although all five swims are challenging in their own right, the swim around Tiree will be particularly tough due to the powerful tidal streams and the extremely low water temperature, which barely rises above 13C even in the height of summer.
“Although I’ve completed a number of long distance swims, including the English Channel and Gibraltar Straits, I’m not underestimating the magnitude of the challenges that lie ahead.
“I have a gruelling training programme to make sure I’m prepared mentally and physically for what are set to be the most difficult swims I’ve ever faced.
“I hope to not only raise a lot of money for my chosen charities, but also to show people what you can achieve when you put the classic cliché ‘anything is possible’ to the test.”
Professor Mike Tipton, of the extreme environments laboratory at the University of Portsmouth, said: “Cold water immersion is one of the greatest stresses that the body can be exposed to.
“It follows that what Anna is about to attempt represents a very significant challenge and, if she manages to complete the swims, it will constitute a great achievement.
“It is certainly one that could not be undertaken without years of preparation and training.”
The Five Island Swim Challenge, covering 150 miles over a five-month period, culminates in September with an attempt to complete a non-stop 60-mile swim around the Isle of Wight, which is likely to take around 30 hours.
Kevin Murphy was the first of only three people to have completed the swim around the island, and that was back in 1971. Murphy, who has swum across the English Channel 34 times, said: “A swim in excess of 24 hours is among the toughest in the world, and there aren’t many people who can do it.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West