Across Scotland Swim – Coast-to-Coast
13th September, 2017
This week, swimmers Graham Donald and Kerran Traynor have began a personal challenge to swim across mainland Scotland.
Never been done before, the Across Scotland Swim – Coast-to-Coast, is a physical feat to raise awareness of outdoor exploration, environmental conservation and personal wellbeing. “There are many reasons why this challenge resonated with us. Primarily, the adventure and personal challenge struck us as both ambitious and exploratory and as a bonus, to the best of our knowledge it has never been done before,” says Kerran. “It’s important to us to enjoy the journey, but also to experience the natural beauty and encourage people to stay connected to, and look after, the environment.”
The pair planned the challenge after an injury meant they couldn’t complete a run-swim-run event together last year. As well as the personal project, the duo will be raising money, awareness and supporting two charities – Marie Curie and Bangsang Hospital Appeal.
Both Graham and Kerran have done various sporting events before, but nothing of this magnitude. The challenge will take part over two weeks, it began this week on Wednesday, 13 September and aims to finish on Monday, 25 September. It will include 120 kilometres of open water passing through urban and wild landscapes, mountains and forests. Through natural waterways they’ll leave the edges of the cold Atlantic Ocean behind them, until they meet the icy edges of the North Sea. “Throughout the journey we have a support vehicle and a kayak in the water with us for safety,” says Kerran. “We have a minimal crew of two, that will be with us for the duration, along with some visiting friends and family. It’s really important to us that our support crew enjoy themselves too. This is going to be a challenge for everyone involved and without them, it wouldn’t be possible.”
The two plan to wild camp wherever possible and are expecting water temperatures to be between eight and twelve degrees. “Recent temperatures have been fairly mild so we are hoping for a few degrees warmer,” says Kerran. “We have set ourselves the target of an average 12 kilometres per day. This equates to more than an Olympic marathon distance swim for ten consecutive days. We have also planned for a slightly extended trip should something arise during the challenge.”
The two hope to complete it on time and enjoy every moment of the journey and experience, but also fear the very cold temperatures, potential four-foot waves and three-four day crossing of Loch Ness. “We hope to raise awareness for everyday people to enjoy wild swimming and enjoy the natural world that is on our doorsteps,” says Kerran. “But also to raise money for our charities and to promote their amazing causes.”