Robert Szmidt

Raising money for cancer respite care and support in Ayrshire

Fundraising for Gillian's Saltire Appeal
raised of £1,000 target
by 34 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
Participants: Sponsorship of crazy swimmers from the South Ayrshire Swim Team raises money for this great cause


We take on swim-challenges to raise funds for Gillian's Saltire Appeal.  This makes a real and personal difference to the lives of cancer sufferers and those around them.  Funds provide and maintain respite accommodation for cancer sufferers, their families and carers in Ayrshire and other parts of Scotland.   So please help this amazing cause and give generously: whether or not the weather wins on the day. 

After tough cold & wet challenges in the last couple of years we selected some big swims for 2019 but of course 2020 has been much more difficult due to COVID.  This also means that fundraising events are rare and charities are really missing out.  So, please help in any way you can whether we achieve our own swim-goals or not.  Thanks for reading on!     We raise money by swimming with like-minded characters across odd places - from rivers and canals, to docklands, to the Scottish sea and lochs. We call ourselves "The Ayrshire Crocs" after the famous and original Crocodile Rock sitting in the bay at Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae.

In 2018 the Red Bull Neptune Steps in the cold cold Glasgow canal water at Maryhill was a huge challenge. Like no other swim event you can think of the water was a brath-taking 1.8C .  An endurance event climbing over eight canal lock gates and pushing participants to the limit of speed, strength and resolve.  Why?  Not to win,  perhaps, but really just to survive and to take part. 

 We'd planned Caste2Castle: either swimming Culzean to Dunure or Dunure to Greenan.  However despite good summer conditions overall, the water conditions were simply not good enough to do this safely and this was once again intended for 2019, again a fail!   Also a major encounter with jelly fish resulted in a major setback for a month or more.

Even so, the 2018 and 2019 Scottish Nationals championships at Loch Venachar and then Loch Ken were challenge enough, with rough and cold conditions.  In January 2019 a trip to Finland started the swim-year with a snow-filled dip in thick ice as a challenge set by the locals, repeated in early 2020: you NEVER get used to that !   Despite COVID in 2020 we did our own socially distanced staggered-start swim in the River Doon over 1500m, mostly against the flow just to make it even tougher.

So, we take swimming "openwater" very seriously: we're not just paddling at the shoreline, in a lake or a pool but this is man-against-nature, wrestling weather, sometimes large waves and sometimes larger jellyfish.  Mostly, the challenge is simple : "cold cold cold......... and cold". 

At the end of each year I prepare a calendar including the best photographs of our exploits.   These are available free to those that donate most generously but first you have to provide an address to which I can post it.   If that's of interest, you can message me privately via my Facebook page :

NEVER put your own details on a public page.

Please give what you can, not for our effort, which only highlights the need, but for Gillian's Saltire Appeal.  Thank you! 

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+ £144.25 Gift Aid
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