What Lindsey Cole did next

12th February, 2019

The ‘Thames Mermaid’ is setting off for a new self-styled adventure on 24th February, and looking for swimmers to join her…

Lindsey Cole is like a Goldie Hawn-Ant Middleton hybrid, living a nomadic life of crazy self-styled adventures. These include walking the Rabbit Proof Fence across Australia from Perth to Jigalong (1000 miles), retracing the story of three Aboriginal girls who walked home after being forcibly removed from their home, rollerskating from Bristol to Bude in a Nude suit (“because it rhymed”) and buying a ukelele “when I got dumped in Hawaii and running from London to Manchester with it. I took the ukelele to practise in the evening so I could busk for my train ticket home. Local radio caught wind and they called me every day so I had to play and sing so I found a bound each night to drown me out as I can’t sing.”

In November, she was dubbed the Urban Mermaid for her descent of the Thames in a monofin. 12 days ago she came up with a new idea: to cycle from Totnes to Taymouth Marina for the inaugural Scottish Winter Swimming Champs. She is looking for swimmers’ help on her journey.

“I took part in the UK Cold Water Swimming Champs in Tooting Bec, London at the end of January. When I found out the next one wasn’t for another two years I was gutted as I’ve just got into this! Then I received a message from a girl I met in the hot tub at Tooting that there is one coming up in Scotland on the 9th March. At a similar time I got talking various people on social media about their swim spots and many invited me to stay and join them for a swim, so I decided to do a tour and thought “what better way to cycle to the Scottish swim champs and go for a dip as I travel.”

So on the 23/24th February Lindsey is setting off on her bike, swimsuit in panniers, to do the 750 mile journey. She is hoping to do it in 12-13 days, with 1-2 swims a day. Lindsey has cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) before, and cycled the length of Africa before (Cairo to Cape Town) to get the FIFA World Cup in 2010, so she is no stranger to her bike. ‘This will be harder than LEJOG because it’s very zig zaggy, I’m going to places with communities rather than taking a direct route, so I’m almost the LEJOG mileage (around 800 miles) but I don’t really care for detail: it’s about the journey, the people.”

Lindsey needs some support for her trip – can you help? She is doing the trip for Crisis, so virtual support is wonderful, but physical support is needed too. ‘There’s a particular stretch from the Lake District to Edinburgh where I have a hole in the plan, and need people to swim with and stay with, and another around Coventry and Bakewell and the Peak District.’

“I’d like to make a short film to highlight how wonderfully friendly the community is. I joke how I often drive for 2 hours to meet a stranger, get almost naked, get wet together and then sit and eat cake and drink coffee for another hour or more. I’ve never met another community like it.” Any interested filmmakers/editors who could help with this project are asked to get in touch.

Lindsey is setting off around 24th February, giving herself 13 days to the get the swimming champs.

  • We are delighted, proud and stoked to announce that Lindsey is coming on board the OSS Team as part of a new pod of SWIM CHAMPS for @theoutdoorswimmingsociety – this is a new programme which we will be sharing plans for (with details of how to apply) on the 1st March. Look out for it in the newsletter and across social!
  • Follow the journey on lindseycole.co.uk and instagram @stompycole

Image: @stompycole with OSS founder @kate_rew at the @theoutdoorswimmingsociety HQ in Somerset, 12th February 2019