Swim the Solent

15 Aug 2016 by Henry, 1 Comment »
Poor man's Ursula Andress

Poor man’s Ursula Andress

 

Way back in early July, I swam the Solent on behalf of Bestival, the grand old festival on the Isle of Wight. Swim2Bestival  is a great idea whereby festival goers can get a free ticket to the festival if they swim from the UK mainland to the Isle of Wight for charity. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this initiative, the Bestival staff, of whom my wife is one, swam the 1.3 mile stretch of choppy and fiercely tidal sea. As a WAG, I got to tag along.

After a very early start from my personal training base in north London we still managed to arrive late for our safety briefing, where I was unsettled to discover I was the only person not in a wetsuit. Unfortunately as a Yorkshireman down south this must be non-negotiable. We all paired off, and were assigned a kayaker to look after us. The coastal stretch of water was gorgeous and relatively still, but once in the open water things got quite boisterous and timing breathing so you didn’t ingest litres of brine became a priority.

Setting off from Hurst Castle, we aimed to ride the tide north east up the channel, before getting pulled back down as the tides changed, south west into Colwell Bay.  Unfortunately tides are an inexact science and this tide decided not to switch back at exactly the right moment, so the majority of the swimmers were pulled off course. At this point a safety boat had to pick us up two at a time, take us out of the water for five minutes and plonk us back down on the true line. Which was fine, as it turned out that isntead of the 1.3 miles we were supposed to swim, we ended up doing amost 3 miles. But it also meant that I got absolutely freezing once we were out of the water. Their’s ‘no wetsuit’ pride for you. We dived back in, and once moving again, felt fine, although never quite as warm as before! Ele and I got across the water in about an hour with a 5 minute pause for the realignment. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed the wild and choppy open water. I think a bigger challenge might be on the cards. Much fun.

solent2

One Comment

  1. Tim Buck says:

    Well done mate. Not rubber dinghy rapids!

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