Having eventually fallen asleep the morning light through the open fly sheet woke me gently just before my raucous alarm went off. I had been conserving the battery by switching off my phone except for an all important communication with Struan at Coastal Connection. They were coming to pick me up at 09.10 approximately. I had given the battery a boost with a solar -powered charger that had been converting sun energy into a pitifully small amount of mobile friendly energy for 2 days.
After striking camp and having a breakfast of malt loaf , dried bananas , coffee and tomato I nipped up to thank Joan and Mike for the toms but no- one appeared up so I left a note.
|Coastal Connection are coming|
I was ready when the boat came. Andrew who was crewing for Struan for the day came to the jetty with the rib.
He first took the bike and trailer back to the boat. I saw him hand up the trailer ( not light weight) to Struan who had to carry it towards the bow of the bigger boat. I was a little concerned as to what might happen to Struan and trailer if there was a slip but I needn't have worried.
|Bike and Trailer transferred by Andrew|
|The trailer is loaded|
Then it was my turn and soon I was on board and we were off. Rory from JMT had come to take photos for the publicity and friends Carole and Alan were also on board to give support
The weather was again kind but there was more of a swell. I tried not to think of what was ahead as we cruised and drifted around the Corryvreckan looking at the eddies , swirls and riffs of water. We saw plenty of seals but no cetaceans.
I got into my wetsuit , found my seasick bands and was ready to go when the instruments on the boat indicated that the tide speed had dropped to 0. 5 knots.
I was loaded back into the rib along with Andrew, who was going to be keeping close by in the rib, and Rory. They deposited me on the rocks on the Jura side and then I waited for the go ahead and I was off. (Videos by Alan Scott)
I swam without putting my head in properly to get warmed up but found that I couldn't get into a rhythm , always my problem when under pressure. I rolled onto my back and quickly felt comfortable . I was counting strokes and after a while figured I had covered about half the distance. I stopped to tread water and asked Andrew of we were half way. He told me that I had done about 2/3 rds and only taken 15 minutes.
Then Andrew said 75 metres. This wasn't far so I tried to get back into a rhythm. With only 25 metres to go I felt I couldn't go on . This was terrible and I knew that to give up then would be something I couldn't live with. Andrew was there again telling me that I had plenty of time and that I could do it so I took a few more strokes and finally touched Scarba and tried to haul myself onto the rocks. I missed a couple of times then was there and almost threw up.
It took a while to get my breath back but I still had to get back to the rib because the sea was such that Andrew couldn't bring the rib in to where I was.
Actually this turned out to be easy and I just let Andrew haul me in.
Back on the main boat everyone was congratulating me and asking how I felt. Truth be told I had no idea. I had just swum the Corryvrechan and I didn't quite believe it. It was all over so quick after months of preparation. No I was not going to do it again. Struan told that I had taken 30 minutes so I had plenty of time to spare.
The sea however had changed and what had been almost flat calm was now full of white horses so it's a good thing I finished when I did.
Hot drinks and chocolate restored my equilibrium and eventually I was able to work up the energy to get out of my wet suit and into some warm clothing. Struan took us back to Coastal Connection base where I met his parents ( the rest had already met them) more congratulating and Alan and Carole produced a bottle of Champagne which somehow I managed to open and pour out for all. I was still in a bit of a daze.
|(L-R)Struan, Heather , dogs, Alan, Carole, Rory|
Then we loaded bike and trailer between Heather's car and A&C s and Heather showed us the way to Poppies on the other side of Oban where A&C treated me and Rory to some much needed food! This also took a good few miles off my bike ride that day.
I was able to charge up my phone and between Rory and myself we started to let people know that I had done it. Finally we all needed to get on the road to our various destinations. I set off on the bike to Dalmally ( hopefully) the others went on by car.
I discovered that all my good luck with the weather was now beginning to turn and I had to contend with a stiff head wind. However just occasionally if I passed someone I shouted out" I ve just swum the Corryvreckan " I think it was just sinking in. At Dalmally I decided that I would pamper myself with a B&B rather than camp. I stumbled across Mabel who runs a B&B next door to the place where John Smith ( former leader of the labour party in opposition) was born.
Mabel spoilt me rotten with food, a bath and a good blether. Fell into bed and couldn't sleep!
Wednesday to Crieff to Deirdre 's and Ronald and Alison's.
Thence home by Friday maybe.
Photos to be posted Saturday or Sunday