THE countdown is on for a team of nine swimmers to be the first to swim across one of the widest, and wildest, channels of water between two parts of the British coast – The Minch.
Raising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), The Big Minch Swim Team is getting ready for the off.
The team have a ten-day window (June 23rd – July 3rd) in which to complete the 102km swim from the north west fishing port of Ullapool to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis and could be leaving this weekend or early next week.
Swimming pier to pier they will be tracing the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry route and fingers are crossed for a fair weather forecast.
Team spokesman Saul Hindson said: “We’re confident in our abilities to swim the distance, but the only thing we can’t control is the weather so we’re hoping for a good solid three day spell of light winds and clears skies.”
He added: “We’ll be landing on shore at South Beach opposite the Caledonian Hotel, so please keep an ear on the radio and an eye online and our Facebook page (The Big Minch Swim) so you can come and cheer us on as we arrive back after swimming home from Ullapool!”
The swimmers, working in relay formation, will be accompanied by a kayaker and escorted across the open water stretch by support boat MV Cuma, donated to the challenge by Murdani Macdonald of Lewis company Island Cruising.
Murdani will be assisted by Stornoway RNLI Coxswain Murdo ‘Murti’ Campbell as the Big Minch Swim helps celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Stornoway RNLI Station.
Swimmer and Stornoway RNLI Press Officer Eilidh Whiteford said: “The Royal National Lifeboat Institution receives no financial support from either the Scottish or UK Governments, with almost all funding derived from donations and legacies.
“The number one reason for our undertaking The Big Minch Swim therefore is to raise as much money as possible for this vital lifesaving charity.”
Stornoway store WeeW is providing water, juice and sweet treats to give team members an energy boost, and WJ Butchers, Stornoway, have also donated meals to keep the team fuelled.
The Big Minch Swim Team are: Swimmers – Saul Hindson, Colin Macleod, Rodney Jamieson, Chris Baker, Tariq Hussain, Laura Maynard, Scott Connor, Eilidh Whiteford, Mark Doug Maciver, and reserve Douglas Forbes; and Kayakers – Mark Stokes, PJ Maclachlan and Alistair Glover.
Donations to The Big Minch Swim challenge can be made safely and securely through a Just Giving site at www.justgiving.com/thebigminchswim