Extraordinary women take on extraordinary adventure
On July 2nd, six brave women defy the power of the elements and attempt to swim from Lands End to the Isles of Scilly to fundraise money for Surfers Against Sewage.
Alice Bane and Alex Sanbrook (GPs), Kim-Marie Jackson (Environmental Consultant),Paula Bright (Physiotherapist), Tina Pascoe (Occupational Therapist) and Ruth Creamer (ICU Consultant) trained all winter in the ocean. They gradually built their stamina to take on a 50km swim from Lands End to the Isles of Scilly. Having previously rowed this stretch of water in a surfboat, they have been drawn back to it.
Encouraged by Mark Richards’ solo swim to Scilly in 2019 they decided to take on a long-distance relay swim. Initially they considered the Channel but the stretch of water off Lands End felt more like home to them, being true Cornish birds, plus there are less ships to negotiate. So, they started their journey to find the fitness and make plans.
The Pandemic led to a delay of the event by 1 year. However, preparing for this challenge helped them get through such peculiar times with regular swims, camaraderie, and a positive focus.
Brought up near the Cornish coast and having spent much of their years either in, on, or watching the ocean, they are no doubt Thalassophiles. After years rowing surfboats together, a solid friendship was formed based on urge for adventure.
Despite their fortuitous relationship with the Cornish coast, distance sea swimming was new to them, especially as a winter past time. Discovering the benefits of sea swimming all year round has been life changing. They are stronger, acclimatised, and confident swimming offshore.
There are many exciting things about this challenge other than the swimming. Lands End to Scilly is a stretch of water that brings with it great mystery and interest. Legend tells of the ‘The Lost Land of Lyonnesse’ a wondrous land destroyed by great inundation from the sea. It’s believed that at times the tolling of bells from lost churches can be heard under the water...the girls will be listening out for these.
Interestingly this crossing passes a volcanic plug called Wolf Rock, named after the howling sound it makes during gales. The lighthouse that stands here was the first in the world to feature a helipad. Also on their journey, as they approach the islands, in the distance they will see Sevenstones lightship, a stark reminder of the hundreds of ships wrecked on the reef.
This passage is notorious for its strong currents so they will rely on calm conditions and timing the tides to achieve this swim. Accompanied by a safety boat and two kayaks they plan to leave from a rock off Nanjizal in the early hours.
Swimming to Scilly isn’t just about the women enjoying times in the ocean, it’s also about the connection us humans have with the sea. Given that protecting the planet and changing our ways is fundamental for survival of life on earth, they wanted to support a local charity dedicated to the two major issues...plastic pollution and climate change. They chose Surfers Against Sewage, not just because they used to throw the best parties but because they show huge commitment to fundamental environmental issues.
As a member of the Surfers Against Sewage 250 supporters group, we saw it as our duty to equip Alice, Kim-Marie, Paula, Tina and Ruth with some comfortable Aqualamb Boots for their arrival at the Scilly Isles – we are sure they will keep them warm during their post-swim camping trip!
As for their own fundraising goal, they have already exceeded the located £6k for SAS. Let’s help them to make it a truly remarkable journey!