With a current total of over £17,000 a team of eight swimmers have become the number one fundraisers for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution since the establishment of charity donation website Just Giving in 2003.
The Big Minch Swim Team departed the fishing port of Ullapool on the north-west coast of Scotland at 12noon on Monday, June 24th and arrived in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis 34 hours later at 10pm on Tuesday, June 26th, having completed a 50mile open water swim.
The feat has secured the Team’s place in history as being the first group of people to ever swim The Big Minch – one of the widest, and wildest, channels of water between two parts of the British coast.
And their 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.Working in relay formation, the swimmers were accompanied by three kayakers and support boat MV Cuma, donated to the challenge by Murdani Macdonald of Lewis company Island Cruising.
The swimmers averaged a speed of 1.5knots and during the crossing were escorted by seals, dolphins and even a pod of six or seven Orca whales.
Team leader Saul Hindson said: “To say I am immensely proud of each and everyone for what they have achieved over those 34hours would be a massive understatement.
“Completing the challenge didn’t come easy – hours of training every week and sacrificing many normal activities to make sure we were ready for the challenge – but what an adventure it was: 45 minute swims with what seemed like very little time between each leg, no sleep, eating when you could, massive whales, pods of Orca, dolphins swimming alongside swimmers and high spirits from everyone involved.”
He added: “The welcome home we received was unbelievable with around 200 people at Stornoway harbour to see us into land.
“And the generosity of people has been overwhelming as we have watched the Just Giving total steadily increase since the days and weeks following the swim.
“To become the No.1 fundraisers for the RNLI and have a motion passed in Parliament marking what we have done is incredible and I’d like to say a huge thank you from the entire team to everyone who has helped out and donated.”
The Big Minch Swim Team are: Swimmers – Saul Hindson, Colin Macleod, Rodney Jamieson, Chris Baker, Laura Maynard, Scott Connor, Eilidh Whiteford, and Mark Doug Maciver, (swimmer Tariq Hussain and reserve Douglas Forbes were unable to make the Swim); 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