Storm clouds grow behind Finbarr

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – V – “That’s it. I’m done”

Fin increased his stroke rate after the feed and by 15:35 he’d made three kilometres in the preceding hour. Any half hour dip he suffered seemed to be compensated for in the thirty minutes either before or afterwards. First Mate Mark was plotting every 30 minutes by hand on a chart, separate from the GPS screens, and throughout the…

Quinton Nelson, the pilot who changed the North Channel.

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – IV – Just Eight Laps of Sandycove

For the early hours of the swim, Finbarr was positioned and feeding (including a third of a Turkish Delight) on the port side, while one of the SeaCat fast ferries to Belfast was rapidly approaching about a kilometre south on the starboard side. This threw a large wake which reached Fin a few minutes after his feed, bringing the…

Donaghadee Harbour Lighthouse IMG_3005_01.resized

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – III – Anyone for an early morning dip?

There are three overarching obstacles with the North Channel, all similar to the English Channel but two at least are usually worse. The first that had already affected us in the earlier call then stand-down, then call again, was the very unpredictable weather, similar to the English Channel. The North Channel just happens to be another 200…

Finbarr & Craig argue before the swim. Craig says Fin is getting off easy as he won't be stuck with me on a boat for a day.

Finbarr Hedderman and the North Channel – II – Famous Pilot, Famous Boat

Finbarr, Craig Morrison and I arrived in Donaghadee on Saturday evening after a long drive. A not-so-brief trip around a Bangor supermarket saw we accumulate the usual Channel swim expedition-load of food, stopped off at our accommodation and proceeded to meet pilot North Channel Quinton Nelson on board the boat down in Donaghadee before sunset…

Tom Blower and the first successful North Channel swim

I came across this gem from 1963 in Sports Illustrated archives a couple of years ago. I’m just going to reprint it. Hey, an easy day, no writing! * From Donaghadee in Northern Ireland to Portpatrick in Scotland is a fraction under 21 miles. Between the two land masses the sea rages in swollen tides and hungry eddies. Out…

Wayne Soutter’s historic & new North Channel route – Part 2

Part 1. This swim is told from two viewpoints, of both Wayne and his crew chief Paul. Wayne’s is the grey text on the left, Paul Greenhalgh’s text is in green and justified to the right. ******************************************************************* We finally made a GO decision on Thursday evening to swim on Sunday, I booked flight tickets for Saturday, we…

Lewis Pugh

Introducing a precise open water swimming temperature scale

Next year’s Cork Distance Week will have a record number of attendees, many from outside Ireland. Some will be coming nervous or terrified about the potential temperatures especially if they heard any of 2011’s details. They need a scale of reference for that fear and we need a common terminology! Steve Munatones on Daily News…

Kevin Murphy on the North Channel

Since Anne-Marie Ward & Stephen Redmond succeeded on crossing it in the last few days… (Anne-Marie’s fourth attempt, btw). “I’ve done 56-mile swims. I’ve done 52-hour swims. I’ve done a high-altitude lake swim. I’ve done Loch Ness where the temperature falls to 7°C (44.6°F). I’ve swum in air temperature of -34°C. I’ve done a Norwegian…