Crossing Hell's Mouth

From Openwaterpedia

Crossing Hell's Mouth was a long-form documentary by Meekrat Films broadcast on BBC about the attempt by Frank Chalmers to swim across the Pentland Firth. It was produced by Magnus Dennison and directed by Katja Roberts.


Crossing Hell's Mouth tells the story of Frank Chalmers, an open water swimmer who is setting off on the challenge of his life. Having successfully swum the English Channel, Frank has been training for over a year in preparation for his toughest swim yet; to cross the Pentland Firth, a notoriously treacherous stretch of water separates the Orkney Islands from mainland Scotland and is home to some of the strongest tides in the world. The Firth has been named Hell's Mouth by seamen as its fearsome forces have earned it the reputation of being a graveyard for ships.

Most of the world's straits and channels have been swum already, leaving the Pentland Firth as one of the last undefeated swims. Local seafarers, whose lifetimes have been dictated by these unpredictable conditions, team up with Frank and his wife Ros as they set out on this moving and unexpected journey. The Pentland Firth was first successfully swum across by Colleen Blair in August 2011.

Frank Chalmers

Frank Chalmers is an open water swimmer from Scotland and is the one of the oldest successful swimmers of the English Channel. A member of the Half Century Club, the 50-year-old crossed from England to France in 16 hours 48 minutes in 2005.


Crossing Hell's Mouth was broadcast on BBC 2 Scotland (18 October 2009), BBC 4 National (3 August 2010), Universal Sports USA, 2011 Community Channel UK, 2011 Festivals and Awards: Best Foreign Documentary, All Sports Festival LA, 2010 Krasnogorski Sports Film Festival, Moscow, 2011.

Crossing Hell's Mouth

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