DOWN THE ISLES

Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly swim to raise funds for sea bird conservation...

ANDREA Ayres is aiming to become only the second person ever to complete one of the West Country’s most daring swims.

Devon-based Andrea will be attempting to swim from Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly at the end of July to raise funds for sea bird conservation.

Andrea, who works for the RSPB, said: “I have always had a love of swimming. My longest swim to date is the length of Lake Windermere, at a distance of 10.5 miles, which I completed in 2016, so this will be more than double the distance. This will be a huge personal challenge.

“I want to raise money for the RSPB in the West Country to support work to conserve sea birds and manage our coastal reserves.

“The truth is that our wildlife is in trouble and needs our help. The puffin, for example, is one our most recognisable and much-loved seabirds. However, in recent years their numbers across the UK and Europe have plummeted, leading to the species being declared vulnerable to global extinction.”

Andrea will be attempting the swim between July 21 and 25, if the weather allows. Leaving from Nanjizel Bay in West Cornwall, just along from Land’s End and Porthgwarra, Andrea hopes to finish at the Eastern Isles in Scilly.

In a straight line, this is about 26 miles. Andrea is expecting to be swimming for at least 20 hours non stop, with some of the attempt in the dark.

Andrea continued: “I will be swimming in accordance with channel swimming rules so as well as no stopping, I won’t be wearing a wetsuit, just a swimming costume, hat and goggles!

“Even in July, the water temperature is going to be fairly cold, with an average temperature of 17C off Cornwall but a lower temperature of nearer 15C likely around Scilly. I will be supported by a pilot boat, the Celtic Fox, operated by Mark from Penzance Fishing.”

This swim has only ever been achieved once, by Beth French in a time of 17 hours and 28 minutes.

You can support Andrea at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swimforseabirds

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.