Follow the First Man Attempting To Swim Around Great Britain

Ross Edgley on his 3,200km swim.
Ross Edgley on his 3,200km swim. | © Red Bull Content Pool

Currently bobbing around north Cornwall’s coastline, somewhere near Newquay, Ross Edgley is almost a third of the way through his attempt to become the first person to swim around the entire country.

Having left Margate on the 1 June, Ross Edgley is well into his 2,000-mile swim around Great Britain. The idea for this challenge came about when Edgely discovered that, although it has been attempted, no one has ever managed to swim the entire circumference of the island. That was enough of a reason for him.

Ross Edgley approaching the water for the Great British Swim on 1 June 2018.

Although the fitness expert will be taking breaks, he won’t touch land until the challenge is complete. The swim is split into six-hour sections, alternating between being in and out of the water. After each six-hour swim Edgely’s stop-off point is marked by GPS before he climbs into his support boat to eat, sleep, rest and go through rehab and physio. After six hours in the boat, he picks up where he left off in the water. The record will only be complete when he passes the point that he started at.

Before the swim began, Edgeley predicted it would take 100 days to complete, and see him swimming 30-50km – roughly the length of the English Channel – every day. He is swimming through the day and night, with the intervals planned in such a way that he can use utilise the strong currents that surround Britain. He will clock up more than 2.4 million strokes and require close to one million calories in the process.

Edgely has experience when it comes to this type of endurance challenge. Having played water polo for Great Britain and started his own nutrition company, he moved into the world of adventurism and the challenges began.

Edgley swimming off the south coast.

In 2016 Edgely completed the World’s Strongest Marathon, a standard 26.2 mile marathon, except for the fact that he was pulling a 1.4 tonne Mini Countryman the entire way. He rope climbed the height of Everest, all 8,848 metres of it, and swam the 40km between Martinique and St Lucia while dragging a 100lb tree (although unpredictable currents meant he actually ended up swimming 100km and wasn’t able to reach the end point). Back in Britain, he embarked on a challenge with the help of the Royal Marines, swimming solidly for 48 hours just to see how far he could go – 126km, as it turned out.

While nobody has circumnavigated the entirety of Britain’s coastline before, in 2013 Sean Conway swam from Land’s End to John O’Groats up the west coast of the island, becoming the first person to complete the 900-mile distance. Conway ran and cycled the distance too, completing the ‘ultimate triathlon’. This year, he cycled a 3,890-mile route across Europe, from Portugal to Russia, in just under 25 days.

Edgley in the water.

It takes a special kind of person to take on such challenges, and Edgely won’t complete his until he reaches Tower Bridge some time around the end of August. Anyone wishing to monitor his journey can track his progress here.

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