Organisers ‘Overwhelmed’ By Support For Unique Islands’ Swim Challenge

Scilly Swim Challenge organiser Dewi Winkle

Scilly Swim Challenge organiser Dewi Winkle

Swimming between all five inhabited islands in a single day doesn’t seem like the obvious way to visit Scilly.

But organisers of Scilly’s first Swim Challenge have been overwhelmed by the number of people wanting to undertake this unique event.

Dewi Winkle, has run open water swimming holidays here in the past. He’s teamed up with St Mary’s man Nick Lishman to offer 150 people the chance to make the circuit around the islands on 6th September.

Dewi said they’d done very little publicity for the event, so he was surprised when the event was fully booked within 6 weeks of opening for registration in December.

He had expected it to take up to eight months.

The competitors will set off from St Mary’s at around 5.30am crossing first to St Martin’s, then Tresco, Bryher, Samson, St Agnes and back to St Mary’s.

Dewi says swimming 10 miles in a day might seem a lot, but by breaking it down into stages averaging about a mile and a half each, it makes it more achievable for most people.

There’s time for a rest and refreshments on each island.

Nick says the course needs to be challenging, but it also has to be a nice day out for those taking part.

The event appeals to experienced open water swimmers as well as people just getting into the activity.

Planning ahead means it gives novices time to improve their technique and Dewi says they’ve had a wide entries from 21 to 72 years old.

With family and friends coming along to support the swimmers, Nick says they’re expecting up to 250 people to visit.

Most of those will be first time visitors and he feels there’ll be a “noticeable buzz” over the weekend.

They still need more accommodation and Nick is appealing to local providers to get in touch if they can offer any deals for the event.

The organisers are hoping the swim will become an annual event.

Nick says they already have some ideas about how to grow it, although he says they’re keeping it simple this year to see how it goes.