On 1 October, The Arran TrooNautics, a team of 13 swimmers, completed the first 16 mile relay swim from the Isle of Arran to Troon on the Scottish mainland, in 15 hours and 19 minutes, attracting support from land, sea and air in the process.
The two relay teams (one of six and one of seven swimmers), set off before sunrise at 05.18 and arrived at Troon, just after sunset.
The air was brisk and the water temperature a chilly 13 degrees, rising to 14 during the day. The relatively novice swimmers had trained throughout the year in order to acclimatise to the conditions.
“The two teams did an amazing job. Swimmers coming out of the water were often very shivery but they were generally back up on deck encouraging their teammates within an hour of their swim. No one flagged or complained. Everyone just got on with the job,” said TrooNautics coach, Chris Sifleet of Swim4Miles.
The team were in exciting company throughout the swim with jellyfish, eels, and even seals and porpoises swimming alongside them.“ It was also great support to see the Coastguard Search and Rescue helicopter hovering above me during one of my hour swims," said Katherine Self. The TrooNautics were met by a large group of family and friends as they crossed the finish line under torch light at Barassie beach, including many of the swimmers’ children were excited to stay up late to welcome their parents home. “We had a wonderful day and the support we had along the way with lots of encouraging facebook messages and donations really spurred us along. It was lovely to know so many people were rooting for us,” said Lucy Johnston.
The TrooNautics challenge was inspired by the spirit of exploration and love of the sea, embodied in the teams two chosen charities: The RNLI, of which two of the swimmers have been boat crew; and the Jo Walters Trust, founded by Johnston, in memory of her sister who loved sailing amongst many other adventures.
And in case the 16 mile swim wasn’t enough, TrooNautic’s Alice Vernon, “Even did an ice bucket challenge after her swim in a bid to raise the charity total," said Lucy Johnston.
The swimmers have raised an amazing £16,000 that will be split equally between the two charities. Some of the money raised will go to send a group of young carers from Ayrshire on an Outward Bound project. The donation page is still open if anyone would like to donate: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/arrantotroonswim
"We are so grateful to all our support crew, the skippers of the boats, kayakers, rib drivers, our coaches and team doctor. Their dedication and expertise were superb.”
The swim has been submitted to the British Long Distance Swimming Association (BLDSA), and once ratified, will be logged as the first official relay swim from Arran to Troon. They are also the first all female team to complete the swim.