Big Minch, Little Minch - Colin’s the man

Hebridean super swimmer Colin S. Macleod was already assured of his place among the greats of island sport and undoubtedly open water swimming.

Having already been part of a relay team to have crossed the Minch, a relay from St Kilda to Harris and a solo swim across the Little Minch he has earned a well deserved reputation as a remarkable swimmer and fearless fundraiser – with all his swims earning money for charitable causes.

A rough estimate of his charity earnings are now well north of £70,000 - a remarkable haul for a man who dipped his toes, literally, into open water for the first time back in 2011.

But Colin had an itch to scratch and something which wouldn’t go away and he was determined to become the first man to swim the Big Minch solo.

His first attempt ended last year within sight of the shore after losing contact with his support vessels but this time there would be no swapping a man we have in the past described as Clark Kent in a rubber suit.

For 21-hours the Stornoway swimmer ploughed across the wild, cold and open waters of the Big Minch after entering the surf at a beach in Gairloch before he touched home just after 1am on Tuesday to splash into the record books as the first man to swim the Big Minch solo and the first person to ever complete the Big Minch and the Little Minch.

“It was as much a mental challenge as it was a physical one,” croaked an exhausted Colin to the Gazette, “and I’ve had so much salt water my throat is pretty sore.”

“There were many times in the dark when you are tired and you have lots of thoughts and it was hard when you would find a small pocket of warm water which would quickly disappear then back into cold.

“It all went really smoothly and there were no mishaps at all this time. I did have a swimming companion for more than a hour when a minke whale decided to follow me along.

“To be honest I didn’t notice it much because it was on my left side and I breathe to my right but the kayakers took lots of pictures which I have been looking back on.”

He continued: “I’m a bit tired of course but very proud to have done it and it was something I had to go back to after last year. It is so good to get this challenge completed and onto my swim cap and to be the first man to swim both the Big Minch and Little Minch feels great.”

Colin’s Big Minch swim was to raise money for Cancer Research UK and with more than £7,000 already pledged the super swimmer is already helping bring in yet more precious fundraising money for worthwhile causes.

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