Pioneering swim becomes a stage performance

A theatre company has made a play based on Wayne Soutter’s pioneering swim across the North Channel from Scotland to Ireland. In 2012, Soutter was the first person to ever complete the more northerly Irish Sea swim starting from Mull of Kintyre and finishing near Ballycastle.

The swim was first attempted in 1928 by Mercedes Gleitze but the route was abandoned in favour of the longer crossing between Donaghadee and Portpatrick because of the extreme tidal currents. Soutter, along with his friend and boat captain Paul Greenhalgh, proved that with a careful study of the currents, the swim could be done.

This is how playwright and performer Matthew Warburton describes it:

“This is a true story. In 2012, Wayne Soutter, a middle-aged father of two, attempted to swim the as-yet unconquered sea-channel between the Mull-of-Kintyre and Ireland. Cold seas. Strong winds. Treacherous tides and 50-foot jellyfish. What could possibly go right? Hitting the Wall is a theatrical recreation of that extraordinary endeavour.”

The performance is based on blogs and interviews with Soutter and Greenhalgh and asks why we choose to do things that might better be left undone. It explores what drives people on. What motivated Wayne, and Paul, and who suffered most?

Hitting the Wall has been created by Heart of Oak, which has been producing original theatre for children and adults in the Midlands since 2009. The play will be first performed on 8 July at the Buxton Fringe and will then go on tour.

We haven’t seen it but apparently it’s very good, so if you’re looking for something different and inspiring, why not go along.

For full dates and details please refer to their website and Facebook page.

Check out the trailer below.

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.