Man first to complete North Coast swim
A South African man has become the first to successfully swim the dangerous stetch of water from the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland to the North Antrim coast.
Monday, 27 August 2012
Endurance swimmer Wayne Soutter, 43, living in London, completed the 12-hour marathon swim just before 11.30pm on Sunday.
He is now the first man reported to have completed the stretch.
He was due to swim the route of about 20km to Torr Head but because of the tide he ended up swimming approximately 45km in water around 12C.
"I love a good challenge," he said.
"I don't think it has quite sunk in for me yet. It was so hard, it was so much harder than I ever imagined it was going to be,"
"There was a point in the middle where I wanted to pull out and my team on the boat, they were so amazing, they coached me through," he said.
He paid tribute to Community Rescue who oversaw the whole swim - he will be donating the funds raised from the swim to the charity.
"In 2010 I did the English Channel and I was keen to do something that was more technically complex," he explained.
This has got to be the most technically challenging swim in the world. The volume of water pouring in and out of that basin, through that very narrow gap is just ridiculous.
"Plotting the tide and the route through that was the trick of the swim," he added.
Wayne swam a trial off the north coast about a month ago and said seeing the jellyfish had made him nervous.
But it was during the main swim that he was confronted by what he described as "fields of jellyfish" in the water.
"Everywhere I looked there were just hundreds of jellyfish and eventually I just had to put my head down and swim through them, I couldn't go back," he said.
"I had this big fear in my mind of them, but actually at the time it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be."
Wayne was given a warm welcome at a reception at Ballycastle harbour hosted by the Chairman of Moyle District Council, Councillor Sandra Hunter.
"He looked absolutely fantastic as he came out of the water, you would never have thought he had been swimming for 12 hours," she said.
"He made history last night and it was absolutely fantastic that he did it for a Northern Ireland charity. I pass my congratulations on to him and everyone who helped him along the way."
Wayne says he has no plans for any swims in the future.
"The swim may have been scary but raising with my wife that I want to do another big swim is even scarier."