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North Channel Swim

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The North Channel as defined by Admiralty Chart 2198 North Channel Southern Part of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

noun - A North Channel Swim is a channel crossing between Scotland and Northern Ireland whose start and finish is within the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office's Admiralty Chart 2198 North Channel Southern Part. No other route or course is recognised as a North Channel Swim.

Distance & Conditions[edit]

Alternative Course[edit]

The Dál Riata Channel Swim, previously known as the Mull of Kintyre Swim, is a newer and shorter 17 km (10.5-mile) course was pioneered by Wayne Soutter from Mull of Kintyre in Scotland to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland in 2012.

Historical Information[edit]

In history, the first successful North Channel crossing was accomplished in 1947 by Tom Blower...and few others have followed. There were quite a number of unsuccessful attempts in both directions. Nuala Moore explains, "...it is a body of water that requires the utmost of respect. Above both Scotland and Ireland, there are thousands of miles of sea, all raging and wanting to run south and north. When this water tries to squeeze between the two countries, the limited space forces the water to act very erratically. As the water runs through islands and in and out of headlands and bays, it goes every direction. Therefore, to a swimmer, there is no definite system of movement. The air temperature in the summer in the north is often 12-18°C – so this would be a negative on the skin as well. The tides running through Rathlin Island work on nine hours and not the usual six. The erratic nature of these flows is why this stretch of water is the most respected. Add to this the fact that the water temperature is only 12-13°C (upper 50°Fs) and jellyfish are a huge variable. Stings are definite."

Alison Streeter and Kevin Murphy both have three successful crossings. Kevin has two Ireland-to-Scotland crossing and one Scotland-to-Ireland crossing while Alison has one Ireland-to-Scotland and two Scotland-to-Ireland crossings.

Not only is it difficult to cross the North Channel, but it also requires a long road to success: Prior to Ward's first success (whose course is charted above), she tried three separate times to make it across:

  • September 11th 2008 – 17.5 hours swimming and the tide drove nine miles north, the advantage of the new tide wasn’t strong enough to give Anne Marie any benefit so she was taken from the water. It was unlikely that she would have made it.
  • August 2009 - 2.5 hours from Irish coast, the weather took a really bad turn and Anne Marie was rescued from the water. The weather had blown her off-course, north of the Copeland Islands.
  • August 2010- 5 hours swimming through jellyfish in the darkness. There was no let up - her joints and hands froze from the toxins and she asked to be taken out when she was hospitalized. Four weeks later, she was successful.

Ireland to Scotland Successful Solo Swimmers[edit]

1. Tom Blower, 28 July 1947, 15 hours 26 minutes
2. Kevin Murphy, 11 September 1970, 11 hours 21 minutes
3. Kevin Murphy, 29 August 1971, 14 hours 27 minutes
4. Ted Keenan, 11 August 1973, 18 hours 27 minutes
5. Alison Streeter, 22 August 1988, 9 hours 54 minutes
6. Margaret (Maggie) Kidd, 23 August 1988, 15 hours 26 minutes
7. Colleen Blair, 12 September 2008, 15 hours 23 minutes
8. Anne Marie Ward, 1-2 September 2010, 18 hours 59 minutes (water temperature 12-13.4°C)
9. Craig Lenning, 27 July 2011, 14 hours 44 minutes (water temperature 12-13°C)
10. Howard Keech, 2 August 2011, 14 hours 47 minutes (water temperature down to 10.5°C)
11. Fergal Somerville, 16 June 2013, 12 hours 21 minutes (water temperature a constant 9°C)
12. Michelle Macy, 15 July 2013, 9 hours 34 minutes
13. Milko van Gool, 30 July 2013, 10 hours 34 minutes
14. Pádraig Mallon, 16 August 2013, 12 hours 48 minutes
15. Darren Miller, 29 August 2013, 11 hours 16 minutes

Scotland to Ireland Successful Solo Swimmers[edit]

1. Alison Streeter, 25 August 1989, 10 hours 4 minutes
2. Alison Streeter, 18 August 1997, 10 hours 2 minutes
3. Kevin Murphy, 7 September 1989, 17 hours 17 minutes
4. Paul Lewis, 27 July 1999, 14 hours 28 minutes
5. Stephen Price, 21 July 2000, 16 hours 56 minutes
6. Colm O Neill, 31 July 2004, 11 hours 25 minutes
7. Stephen Redmond, 31 August 2010, 17 hours 17 minutes
8. Anna Carin Nordin, 8 July 2013, 14 hours 21 minutes

The Dál Riata Channel Swim[edit]

Wayne Soutter was the first person to complete the Dál Riata Channel Swim from Scotland to Ireland in 2012.

1. Wayne Soutter 26 August 2012, 12 hours 11 minutes.

Synonym[edit]

Irish Channel Swim, North Channel crossing, North Channel route

Oceans Seven[edit]

The North Channel is part of the Oceans Seven, a global 7-channel challenge first proposed in June 2008 by Steven Munatones and first achieved by Stephen Redmond on 14 July 2012. It consists of the following 7 waterways around the world:

1. North Channel between Ireland and Scotland
2. Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand
3. Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii
4. English Channel between England and France
5. Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and then Southern California mainland
6. Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan
7. Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa

Videos from the North Channel[edit]

External links[edit]