THE amazing total of £23,430.61 has been presented to Stornoway RNLI by a team of swimmers who became the first people to swim the Big Minch (Outer Hebrides) – one of the widest, and wildest, channels of water between two parts of the British coast.
And so successful was the challenge that the team are set for another next year with ‘Swim to St Kilda’!
In June 2012 – the year Stornoway RNLI celebrated its 125th anniversary – eight swimmers (Saul Hindson, Colin Macleod, Rodney Jamieson, Chris Baker, Laura Maynard, Scott Connor, Eilidh Whiteford, and Mark Doug Maciver) were accompanied by three kayakers (Mark Stokes, PJ Maclachlan and Alistair Glover) and support boat MV Cuma, donated to the challenge by Lewis company Island Cruising, to complete the 50mile open water swim challenge.
Delighted to present the final total to Stornoway RNLI, team leader Saul Hindson said: “We would like to take this last opportunity to thank everyone for their tremendous support and donations over the past couple of years in helping us raise such a fantastic total for Stornoway RNLI.
“The Big Minch Swimmers would like to give special thanks to Murdani Macdonald for not only donating his time and boat MV Cuma (Island Cruising) but for paying for all the fuel over the three days we commandeered his services!”
The team set off from the fishing port of Ullapool on the north-west coast of Scotland at 12noon on Monday, June 24th 2012, and swam in relay formation to arrive in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, 34 hours later at 10pm on Tuesday, June 26th.
During the fund-raising crossing, the swimmers averaged a speed of 1.5knots and were at times escorted by seals, dolphins and even a pod of six or seven Orca whales.
The Big Minch Swim Team’s efforts have been recorded in Scotland’s history books following a motion tabled by Highlands and Islands Labour MSPs Rhoda Grant and David Stewart, supported by 22 MSPs and passed in the nation’s Parliament on June 28th, 2012.
Saul Hindson added: “I would like to add that due to the success of The Big Minch Swim challenge, we have decided to take on one more challenge – in 2014 The Big Minch Swimmers intend to be the first ever people to Swim to St Kilda – more details to follow!”