Highland open water swimmers promote marine environments

AN intrepid swimming duo plan to take on an ambitious long distance swim in the cold waters of the Northwest Highlands to raise awareness for a marine environmental project.

Open water swimmer Calum Macleod. Picture: Contributed

They plan to tackle the tricky 14 mile stretch of water from Achlocan beach in Achiltibuie to Ullapool shorefront beach.

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Both of these beaches had been cleaned by the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Project which promotes healthy and productive marine environments.

Norman Todd. Picture: Contributed

A Justgiving page has been set up and all money raised will go towards the Highland ‘Dolphin Snorkelers’ a project that teaches kids how to snorkel and takes them out into the sea to see first-hand how amazing our marine life is and why it needs to be protected.

Offshore worker Norman Todd, 45, of Ullapool, along with renowned open water swimmer Colin Macleod, 45, of Stornoway, recently met whilst successfully completing an eight mile swim in the freezing waters of Lochbroom.

Todd rediscovered his love for open water swimming in January this year and has set himself several ambitious swims with this swim being the longest he has undertaken.

He said: “This will be my most challenging swim to date with water temperatures being around 11-12 degrees, a strong tide and unpredictable October weather.” Colin Macleod has an impressive open water swimming resume with him being the first person to swim the Shiant Islands and being a member of the relay teams which swam from Harris to St Kilda and from Stornoway to Ullapool.

Norman Todd. Picture: Contributed

He said: “This will be a very ambitious swim which I anticipate will take 7-8 hours but I am really looking forward to promoting the Living Seas Project which helps to keep the Minch clean for the many who enjoy the sea environment for recreational use.”

The duo will have a support team including Noel Hawkins of the Scottish Wildlife Trust who runs the Living Seas project.

He said: “This is a great thing to see. Although challenging, our waters have huge potential for open water swimming and recreational use, as yet under appreciated.

“The Living Seas Project has spent the last couple of years promoting our wildlife, snorkeling on the amazing beaches around our coast, restarting angling competitions and highlighting the high quality world leading seafood caught and landed in our ports.

“We are both supportive of the guys for doing this and appreciate them raising awareness of our beaches that we clean and try to look after and invite others to help us continue to do so. It would be great to see others come up and take the plunge and discover our great living seas!’