Richard Royal, who last year completed the first documented swim from the former pirate radio station platform of Sealand, is claiming another first: a two-way crossing of the River Humber at the Humber Bridge on 27 July.
After a week of calm weather and record-breaking temperatures, conditions changed dramatically on the Friday night before the swim with the arrival of electrical storms. While the storms abated in time for the swim, conditions remained windy and challenging, with the tides and currents stronger than anticipated.
“As you can see from my times, the first width was hard going – I was taken quite a bit off course by the tide, despite having selected the most favourable time of the month! On the way back I was into my stride a bit more, but there was a lot of chop in the middle of the channel with 1m+ waves which made keeping a steady stroke difficult,” says Richard.
According to Richard’s research, this is the first time anybody has attempted a two-way crossing of the river, and also the first time that there's been a recorded time for a land-to-land one way crossing at Humber Bridge.
“Although there's a regular one-way group swim at the bridge, it begins about 50-100m offshore in the water, rather than on the land, and swimmers have to remain in the group, making it much slower – I did it last year and was the first out of the water in 47 mins but most take well over an hour and are really affected by the tide. I've found an old news report of someone doing it one-way here in the 1980s but no time was recorded. So hopefully I've got two claims, and I hope that others are motivated to beat me!”
Richard’s final time was 1hr 13mins 46secs – the first width was 39:25 and the second 35:11. The straight-line distance for the swim is around 1.7km each way, but Richard’s GPS tracker showed he covered 4km due to tidal movements.
Humber Rescue provided safety support for Richard’s swim and he is raising funds to support their work.
The Humber has been crossed one-way by swimmers at different locations many times previously, including at its estuary, which is around 20 miles east of Humber Bridge. Peter Winchester – AKA the Humber King – has done this approximately 7-mile swim from Spurn Point to Cleethorpes Beach some 70 times.
You can visit Richard’s JustGiving page here: justgiving.com/fundraising/richardroyalhumber