Somerset Woman Aiming For First Mainland To Scilly Swim

Ultra-swimmer Beth French

Ultra-swimmer Beth French

A Somerset woman hopes to be the first person to swim from Porthcurno to Scilly today.

And amazingly, Beth French says the massive challenge is a ‘bucket list’ item on her ‘things to do in life’ list.

She’s overcome a number of hurdles in getting this far already.

Beth has raised the money to pay for her support boat, a fishing vessel called the Celtic Fox and the crew, using what’s termed as “crowdsourcing.” Beth used online appeals to find donors to back her endeavour.

And the swim, which could last 18 to 20 hours, represents a personal triumph.

From Radio Scilly

Beth French describes her preparations for the swim on Radio Scilly

Beth contracted glandular fever at the age of 10, which developed into the debilitating disease ME. It left her in a wheelchair by the age of 17.

She says she went from being a very active child to someone who was very unsure about her future. When she finally recovered, she decided to travel the world exploring her abilities, including taking up long distance ocean swimming in Hawaii.

Beth says she’s fascinated by the swim between Scilly and the mainland. She’s aware that two previous swimmers have made the crossing starting from Scilly but isn’t aware that anyone’s done it the other way.

Beth’s an experienced swimmer who has swum the English Channel and she says she’s confident that she’ll do it, despite warnings about the currents and sea conditions.

But she says there’s been a lot of barrel jellyfish around and she’d like to avoid them if she can.

During the sea-swim Beth will take regular breaks to drink protein shakes, initially every hour and then every half hour as the swim progresses.

Beth intends to leave Porthcurno around noon, catching the high tide, and although she’s aiming for St Mary’s, she says “any rock above the water in Scilly” will do.