Lindsay Cole completes epic Thames mermaid swim

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Adventurer and campaigner Lindsey Cole completed her 120-mile length-of-Thames swim exactly on schedule on 24 November 2018 at the Anglers pub next to Teddington Lock, which marks the upper limit of the tidal section of the Thames. Her finish coincided with an exceptionally high spring tide, which for a few minutes overtopped the weir at Teddington and required Lindsey to swim against the current for a short section.

Calling herself the “Urban Mermaid”, Lindsey has spent three weeks swimming every day (with a mermaid tale) in the Thames for several hours at a time as water temperatures have dropped to around 5 degrees. To help her cope with the bone-chilling water, Lindsey has been wearing two wetsuits and two pairs of gloves. After losing one of her gloves further up river, a fireman donated a spare.

Along the way she, and her support team, have been clearing rubbish from the river and inspiring people she’s met along their way to pick up litter. She’s also been visiting schools and meeting local eco-warriors.

Lindsey has been accompanied throughout by her friend and artist Barbara de Moubray, who’s been paddling the support kayak. Barbara has also made a giant mermaid sculpture out of discarded plastic which accompanied the pair and earned the nickname “Samantha”.

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Plastic mermaid on tour

As she’s travelled down the Thames, other swimmers and river users have joined Lindsey to show their support. For her final 6km stretch from Thames Ditton to Teddington, she was joined by a small flotilla of kayaks and SUPs, as well as a friend, Jack, who dived in to swim alongside. A crowd of well wishers gathered at Teddington Lock to celebrate her finish.

Our contributor Ella Foote met Lindsey at the start of her amazing challenge and we’ve published the full interview in our December 2018 issue, which is available on this link until Christmas.

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From Katia1

"Samantha" takes a well earned rest at the Anglers in Teddington after her 120-mile journey down the Thames with Barbara (far left) and Lindsey (middle). Picture (c) Katia Vastiau.

01 Cover January

Issue 45 January 2021

  • The Northumbrian adventurer blazing his own watery (and icy!) trail
  • Keri-anne Payne on how to train like an Olympian in 2021
  • History, nature writing and the Troubles
  • Sarah Thomas looks at the icy thrill of ice miles

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