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NORTH CHALLENGE

Cold, currents and jellyfish make the north Channel one of the toughest crossings in the world. Graeme lowe decided to celebrate turning 50 by attempting to become the oldest person to complete it

I started the 21-mile North Channel swim from Ireland to Scotland at dawn on 22 July 2015.The water was 12 degrees Celsius, but a combination of nerves and excitement meant it didn’t seem too cold.

As I swam my toes felt frozen and gradually the cold crept up my feet. I worried that the cold would spread its way up my body, but thankfully it stopped half way up my feet. Although I didn’t feel my toes again until well after the swim, I didn’t get cold. The sea temperature is one of the big challenges of this swim, one of the toughest crossings in the world.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

We know that most of our readers are fully converted to the joys of swimming outdoors and only venture into indoor, chlorine-filled pools when necessity (or a training schedule) dictates. But it seems that some people haven’t yet discovered our world. They don’t know the thrill of cool water against their skin, the joy of looking up and not seeing a roof but sky and trees. They don’t know how to gauge the temperature of natural water (nice, cool, flippin’ freezing!) or the special properties of river, lake and sea water. When they swim they don’t hear bird song, they hear the aqua aerobics class from the lane next to them. If you know one of these people, please help them by showing them a copy of this magazine. We have lots of inspirational stories and features to help them break out of that chlorine-filled box. What better way to dip into swimming outdoors than wild swimming in our beautiful national parks? Our feature on the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales will guide you to the best swim spots in both parks. Or if you prefer your waters a little warmer, why not head to the Costa Brava, where I explored the coast from the safety of new boat-free areas. We have also been hearing from readers about their epic swims: English Channel, North Channel, round Bermuda and the length of Britain’s longest river. We love reading your inspiring stories, even if your challenges sometimes scare us a little bit... Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.
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