This morning Graham Donald, 27, and Kerran Traynor, 31, entered the water at Fort William to swim coast-to-coast across mainland Scotland. They expect the 120km journey to take them 10 days, averaging 12km per day. With water temperatures set to be around 8-12 degrees, the pair will be wearing wetsuits.
They want to raise awareness for everyday people to enjoy wild swimming and enjoy the natural world. We caught up with Kerran to wish them luck before they set off on their big adventure.
Why swim cross-Scotland?
We have done various sporting events, marathons and triathlons etc, but nothing of this magnitude. We both have a keen interest in staying active and getting outdoors but I think this will really push us.
I think there are many reasons why this challenge resonated with us. Primarily, the adventure and personal challenge struck us as both ambitious and exploratory – and as a bonus, to the best of our knowledge, it has never been done before. It's important to us both to enjoy the journey, but also to experience the natural beauty and encourage people to stay connected to, and look after, the environment. We hope to complete it on time, and to enjoy every second of the stunning journey and amazing experience.
The interest in the challenge has also allowed us to raise money and awareness in support of two charities close to us: Marie Curie and Bangsang Hospital Appeal.
What is your swimming background?
Graham has been swimming from a young age. I have only taken up swimming in the last 18 months!
Where will you sleep?
The plan is to wild camp wherever possible, although we do have the option of the sofa in the support vehicle if we get stuck.
What support will you have?
Throughout the journey we have a support vehicle, and a kayak in the water with us for visibility/safety. We have a minimal crew of two that will be with us for the duration, along with some visiting friends and family. It’s really important to us that our support crew enjoy themselves too. This is going to be a challenge for everyone involved and without them it wouldn't be possible.
What are you most looking forward to?
Getting started! We have been training and preparing for the trip for many months now and it can be a struggle to motivate yourself in these moments. The landscape should be a challenge in itself and one that we both can’t wait to undertake.
What are you dreading the most?
We both think that Loch Ness, which looks like three-four days in very cold temperatures and the potential for 4ft waves, could prove the toughest part of the swim. This, mixed in with fewer opportunities to stop due to lack of waterside access could become something to dread, but, we are optimistic about potential adverse conditions and look forward to maybe meeting Nessie!