History Made As Woman Swims From Mainland To Scilly

Ultra-swimmer Beth French

Ultra-swimmer Beth French

History was made on St Mary’s at dawn yesterday as Beth French became to first person to record a swim from Cornwall to Scilly.

The 36-year old from Somerset made the 26-mile crossing in 17 hours and 28 minutes.

Beth, who was once wheelchair-bound after developing ME in her teenage years, started at 12.20pm on Tuesday lunchtime and arrived at Porth Hellick just before 6am yesterday morning.

Beth says she was tired and cold after the feat, undertaken without a wetsuit. She almost gave up because of cramp at around 11pm and was sick on a number of occasions.

All she was able to keep down was Ovaltine.

But she says she “wouldn’t have missed the experience for the world.”

During her swim she could hear the clicking of nearby dolphins but some sea life proved problematic.

Beth said she was surrounded by jellyfish and thinks there isn’t an inch of her body that hasn’t been stung.

She feels she’s now set a record that others will want to try and break.

Beth says three different people have contacted her to say the crossing is their “fantasy swim” and she says she hopes this will inspire them to give it a go.

She felt she was very lucky with conditions. The good weather, calm seas and favourable tides “couldn’t have been better,” says Beth.

But she didn’t get much of a view of the islands, which were shrouded in thick fog. As soon as she landed, she had to return on her support vessel

Beth says she’s looking forward to returning properly and seeing Scilly in good visibility.

Next year Beth will undertake the 10 mile swim from Gibraltar to Morocco, which should be much easier and warmer, with a water temperature averaging 18 degrees.

But we may see Beth sooner than that. She says she’s interested in taking part in Nick Lishmans’ Scilly Swim Challenge between all the islands on September 6th.

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