Taking the plunge to swim to St Kilda

The St Kilda Swim 'Tweedos' calendar is available to buy with funds going to charity
The St Kilda Swim 'Tweedos' calendar is available to buy with funds going to charity

Wetsuits have barely dried since becoming the first people to swim the Minch, but the swim gr-eights are already eyeing a tougher challenge.

The eight-person swim team – with a slight team turnover – who swam into the headlines and earned themselves a Scottish Parliament motion last June – have now confirmed their plans to swim, relay style, from Horgabost, on Harris, to St Kilda, the dual World HeritageSite.

Swimming the Minch was a huge task, but compared to taking on the might of 60 miles of the Atlantic Ocean it is the equivalent of climbing Everest in flip-flops.

Unsurprisingly, swimming to St Kilda is a challenge which hasn’t been attempted before.

However, the eight – Colin Macleod, Mark Maciver, Eilidh Whiteford, Chris Baker, Sandra Morrison, Douglas Forbes, John Dyer, and Alistair Glover – are taking the plunge to help raise the profile, and cash, for a trio of charities.

This time around, The Leanne Fund, The Fisherman’s Mission and Yorkhill Children’s Charity will all benefit from the monies raise by the daring swim.

Last time, the swimmers collected almost £24,000 for the RNLI through theMinch Swim, but team leader Colin Macleod is hoping that they will raise even more money this time.

Although the swimmers will be swimming solo in relay style through the ocean waters, they will be supported and steered in the right direction by three kayakers, with a support cabin cruiser also close by.

“It is a real challenge and one no-one has done before,” smiled Colin, “and with a real chance of wildlife along the way.”

The swim team expect to complete the challenge in around 60 hours when they take on the might of the Atlantic in late June or early July when the days are longest.

“There is a lot of determination in the team to do this.

“There is no doubt that it is a step up from the Minch swim, but we all can’t wait to do it,” continued Colin.

Fellow swimmer Mark picks up: “I think we learned a lot mentally from the Minch swim, which will help us this time. It cemented the team and we know what to expect, as so much of this challenge is a battle in your own head.

“The mental preparation is important, as physically we are all able to do it.”

Meanwhile, this Christmas, you could have the St Kilda swim team in your stocking after they revealed plans for a fun festive calendar – complete with hilarious images of the team members decked in nothing but pairs of Harris ‘Tweedos’ (Tweed Speedos pictured inset) striking a variety of poses at some well-known island landmarks.

The ‘Tweedos’ were made up by Mairi Smith of the Harris Tweed Boutique especially for the charity calendar which is priced at just £8.

And with all proceeds boosting the team’s charity pot, it could make the perfect addition to the pile of presents under your tree.

Available from Cameron’s Chip Shop, online via the HebLife App and by contacting any member of the swim team, the calendar is on sale now.

The swim team would also like to thank Colin Cameron for taking the calendar photos, and also Midas Metallic and Sea Harris for their generous donations.