Teenager to swim across Corryvreckan whirlpool

The Corryvreckan Whirlpool. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
The Corryvreckan Whirlpool. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A SCOTTISH swimmer is aiming to become the youngest person to swim across the world’s third largest whirlpool.

Matthew Michie is enjoying huge success in open-water swimming but Sunday’s challenge at the Gulf of Corryvreckan will be his toughest to date.

The 15-year-old Carnoustie High pupil yesterday took part in a final training session at the school’s pool before leaving today for Craobh Haven.

Matthew has been training every day during the school holidays and has swum across the Tay a few of times in preparation, as well as doing strengthening exercises.

He contacted Guinness World Records about his attempt but unfortunately they enforce a minimum age limit of 16 for endurance feats of this nature.

The Gulf of Corryvreckan is a narrow strait between the islands of Jura and Scarba, in Argyll and Bute, off the west coast of Scotland.

The Corryvreckan is on the northern side of the gulf, surrounding a pyramid-shaped basalt pinnacle that rises from depths of 230ft to 95ft at its rounded top.

Flood tides and inflow from the Firth of Lorne to the west can drive the waters of Corryvreckan to crest in waves of more than 30ft - and the roar of the resulting maelstrom can be heard 10 miles away.

Matthew said he will swim only wearing a pair of long trunks, unlike others who have completed the course wearing a wetsuit.


The youngster said today: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge, although I am nervous but feel that I am physically and mentally prepared to achieve my goal.”

Matthew’s parents, Ewan and Sandra, said they are incredibly proud of their son’s achievements

He was 13 when he tackled the final Dundee bridge to bridge swim in 2012 as his introduction to open-water competition and Sandra, who used to open-water swim, said he has been “bitten by the bug”.

Sandra said she had always secretly harboured the hope her son would follow in her wake by taking up the sport, and she is delighted that he has already beaten the times she swam when she was the same age.

The Carnoustie High teenager had a successful season last year, which started with a crossing of the Tay from Tayport Harbour to Broughty Ferry.

Matthew’s time of 35 minutes saw him home as the first junior male and second overall.

Just two weeks later he completed the reverse crossing in 27 minutes, again securing him the junior male win and second overall.

He also took part in the new Discovery Mile swim, finishing the top junior male and third overall, and followed that up with another category win and second overall in Loch Earn’s Crannog Isle swim.


• Peter Ross: Both romantic and deadly, Corryvreckan in the Hebrides is a watery landmark best approached with caution and respect