Northern Ireland news

Five intrepid swimmers celebrating after completing epic challenge from NI to Scotland

Team 'Muintir na Mara covered a distance of 35km in 10 hours 51 minutes

IT may be known as one of the most difficult cold water swims in the world, but five intrepid swimmers are celebrating after completing an epic challenge from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

Braving the cold water, strong currents and hundreds of jellyfish, the relay team crossed the North Channel to raise funds for the Air Ambulance charity.

Known as 'Team Muintir na Mara', which means people of the sea, the group of four women and one man set off from Robbie's Point, outside Donaghadee, to swim one-hour relays across the channel to Port Patrick.

Led by Infinity Channel Swimming, the team of Grace McLaughlin, Christopher Stewart, Nuala Glynn, Gillian Segasby and Jane Reilly covered a distance of 35km in 10 hours 51 minutes.

There are seven channel swims in the world with the North Channel regarded as one the toughest, due to a combination of distance, low temperatures and the abundance of jellyfish.

The group have spent the last 18 months training for the challenge.

Ms McLaughlin said: "It was simply a group of friends who go out swimming together who wanted to do this challenge to fundraise."

She said they had been preparing for a year and a half as covid put things back.

"But it was wonderful to be involved in, we completed the 35km in 10 hours 51 minutes - the third fastest five person relay to ever do it."

Funds raised will go to the Air Ambulance.

"We decided to choose the Air Ambulance to fundraise for as it such a great charity that serves the whole community, it serves everybody and is a very worthy charity," she said.

"It's not something that is accomplished easily, so it was great feeling to have completed it and to raise more than £4,000 for the Air Ambulance."

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