Loch Ness swim

A monster challenge in Loch Ness

This August bank holiday weekend, charity swimmer Helen Smith will push her open water swimming limits by attempting to swim Loch Ness watched by hundreds of “Nessie” enthusiasts

A charity fundraiser is about to push her open water swimming limits by attempting to swim Loch Ness watched by hundreds of “Nessie” enthusiasts.

Later this week Helen Smith from Watford will head to Scotland for a solo swim that’s considered notoriously difficult and dangerous.

Her challenge will coincide with what’s expected to be the biggest hunt for the Loch Ness Monster for more than 50 years, as Nessie fans from around the world converge on the shores of the freshwater loch.

“I’ll certainly have an audience and, monsters aside, there’ll be some very real things for me to worry about such as the water temperature, which is particularly cold at night-time,” said Helen. “Loch Ness is listed among the very tough marathon swims and certainly one that isn’t to be taken lightly.”

Even if conditions are relatively calm, the 22-mile Loch Ness swim could take as long as 16 hours.

Helen, who tragically lost her 12-year-old nephew to suicide, will be raising money for the national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide and the British Heart Foundation.

She is hoping for ideal weather conditions on the loch between Sunday 27 August and Saturday 2 September.

Helen’s swimming sister Hayley Brant will be part of her support team. Last year the sisters swam Windermere, Ullswater and Coniston Water in Cumbria over three days, a distance of 24 miles. Previously their longest swim was across the English Channel.

“Loch Ness will certainly push my limits but I’m really looking forward to it,” added Helen.

“The catalyst was the death of our younger sister, Heather, who had a heart condition and then the suicide of her son Charlie, our nephew. We hope to create a legacy for them and raise money to help others.”

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice, contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

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Abi writes swimming news stories and features for the Outdoor Swimmer website and manages the social media channels. She loves to swim, run, hike and SUP close to her home in Herefordshire. While she’s a keen wild swimmer, Abi is new to the world of open water events and recently completed her first open water mile. She has previously written for The Guardian, BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Ernest Journal.