UPDATE: unfortunately poor weather conditions meant we were unable to swim the English Channel according to plans in August ‘18. We will now be swimming the Channel the last weekend in September.
Not content with swimming 10K down the River Dart last year, this year’s challenge is to swim in a relay across the English Channel to raise funds for Age UK Exeter where I am a trustee.
Why Age UK Exeter? I became a trustee of the charity at a time when my 95 year old grandfather was struggling to remain independent at home. It upset me to think of him alone and struggling when his family were hundreds of miles away – geography meant we weren’t always on hand to help. He was typical of so many elderly people living alone; Age UK’s around the country provide valuable support and companionship to thousands who might otherwise be feeling, lonely, vulnerable and isolated. My grandfather’s plight moved me to make a difference; my fundraising and volunteering for Age UK in Exeter will help vulnerable, isolated and lonely elderly people living in and around our City to find support and companionship through Age UK Exeter’s many and varied services. These include: information and advice, day services, activity groups, home from hospital, support for carers of people with dementia, enabling and home help, volunteers, a chat line and drop in social groups.
So that’s why I’m doing this, as part of a team of 5 – consisting of three ladies I met when we all learnt to swim in open water 2½ years ago and our coach Pete - we will swim the Channel during the week 18th to 25th August. The precise date will be determined at the last minute - weather and tide conditions dependent.
The Channel at its shortest crossing is 21 miles although we will swim much further than this as the current will move us many miles from side to side as the tide ebbs and flows. We anticipate that the crossing could take us between 18 to 25 hours so we will need to keep warm, hydrated and awake!
Conditions in the Channel are variable and can change rapidly. We hope to swim in force 1 and 2 conditions but it could be force 6 with wave heights of up to two meters. At times we will swim in the dark, the water will be cold and there is a good chance of us meeting jellyfish, seaweed and the occasional plank of wood. The Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with 600 tankers passing through and 200 ferries/seacats and other vessels crossing daily so our escort boat, Louise Jane will be there to ensure our safe passage. We will be swimming from Dover to the nearest land south of Cap Gris (between Boulogne and Calais), dependent on currents and tides. Sea temperatures will be between 14-18 celsius during the day, dropping lower during the night.
So PLEASE sponsor me….help to speed my journey across the English Channel and make this daunting challenge worth my while!