Jasmine Harrison is on track to reach the Isle of Man this evening, as part of her full length of Britain swimming challenge.
Solo Atlantic rower, Jasmine Harrison, is currently 14 nautical miles south of the Isle of Man. It’s a crucial milestone in her 900-mile swimming challenge to swim the full length of Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
So far the challenge has seen Jasmine swim across the Bristol Channel, which has the second greatest tidal range in the world, accompanied by pods of dolphins and inquisitive seals.
When we spoke to Jasmine (shortly after she swam north of Holyhead), she said the wildlife had been the most memorable part of her swim so far. “I’ve had a pod of dolphins swimming with me, a baby seal coming up to my face and a bird swimming underneath me,” she told us.
Meanwhile, the weather has posed the greatest challenge. “When it’s too windy it’s not safe for my support yacht and crew even if the actual swimming would be ok,” she explained.
Jasmine Harrison on swimming solo
Jasmine is no stranger to solo challenges. In 2021, aged 21, she became the youngest solo female to ever row the Atlantic Ocean.
In her current challenge, she swims both tides each day, with up to six hours in the water per tide if conditions and timing allow. This can be at any time between sunrise to sunset (meaning up to 10pm some nights). “As soon as I finish a swim, I try to eat then sleep,” she says. “The crew rotates on watch, which includes overnight when we’re not in a harbour.”
Jasmine trained for the challenge at her swim club, Thirsk White Horse Swim Team in North Yorkshire. During the winter she did competitive swim training in the pool, plus extended front crawl swim sessions for up to three hours at a time.
“Once the weather improved, I started doing more open water training in several different venues (lakes) and combined that with long bike rides and lots of dog walks,” she says. “My last pool session was a 12-hour continuous swim to prove to myself that I was ready for a sustained long distance.” Remarkably, she didn’t actually do any sea training!
Protecting our seas
“Both charities get actively involved in their campaigns from beach cleans and litter picking to protecting our amazing wildlife and ensuring good water quality,” she says, of her two chosen charities. “Everything they do is important to me. We need to protect our seas and oceans to ensure they have a healthy future, which contributes to a healthy planet.”
A challenging swim
So far the swim has presented some testing conditions. Even as the UK was enduring a heatwave, sea temperatures remained low. Jasmine has also sustained jellyfish stings to her face and feet, as well as skin chafes from her wetsuit after up to 10 hours swimming each day over two tides.
Weather conditions have also forced the solo swimmer to seek refuge in harbours along the way. Combined with boat maintenance stops, this has made progress frustratingly slow at times.
However, a huge push over the last three days of July saw Jasmine complete massive daily swims totalling 76 nautical miles (141km) on the spring tides with a top swimming speed at times of 9.9 knots (18.3kmph) on her approach to Holyhead on 2 August.
An epic milestone – with more to come!
After restocking with provisions in Holyhead, and allowing high winds to pass, Jasmine reentered the water on 3 August and struck out for the next stretch of her swim – to the Isle of Man, then along the coast of Scotland.
“I’m really looking forward to swimming along the coast of Scotland,” she said. “Highlights [will include] swimming under the Skye bridge and swimming past places I went on holiday to as a child. I’m really hoping for good weather and clear water so I can avoid as many jellyfish as possible.”
On course to the reach the Isle of Man
When we spoke to her (shortly after she swam north of Holyhead), she said she was excited about the next stretch to the Isle of Man. “I’ve never been there before; it’s so cool to swim there for the first time!”
You can keep up with Jasmin’s progress on her ‘The Full Length’ challenge via her online tracker and on Twitter @rudderlymad. Jasmine is raising money for Surfers Against Sewage and Sea Shepherds UK (both via Just Giving) to support their work in clean waters and beaches and protecting wildlife.
Photos: The Full Length