Lamlash Splash is gruelling challenge

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The 2018 Lamlash Splash was described by many of the swimmers as brutal and the worst conditions for a number of years last Saturday.

The sea was choppy, the wind blew, there were squally showers and the tide was turning which meant that the majority of swimmers really struggled in the conditions. This was reflected in the finishing times which were a lot slower than previous years.

The first male home in 38min 30sec was Graeme Schreiber from Houston who has had 2nd and 3rd places in previous years. Having recently turned 60 he wonders if he is the first sexagenarian to come first in the Splash? 2nd male was Alan Bowey in a time of 39.48 and 3rd male was Mark Rafferty in a time of 50.05 just beating first local male Eric Milton whose time was 51.00.

First female, and also first local female was Lynsey Cuthbertson from Lamlash in a time of 52.45, followed by locals Jo Totty in 60.32 and Georgina Maclean close behind in 60.40.

The Ali Bodie Plate was won by Morag Litton who showed great courage and determination in completing the swim.

Thanks must go to Bill Barr who took over as lead safety officer and Faye Hamill who was medical officer.  Also, to all the emergency services – the RNLI and the Coastguard – and to all those in the ribs and kayaks who supported the swimmers in the water.  It was not an easy task given the conditions.  A big thank you also to the Holy Isle ferries for transporting all the swimmers across to the Holy Isle for the start of the swim.

Many of the swimmers have asked me to thank individual kayakers who were able to guide, encourage and care for the swimmers across the choppy sea.  Their fantastic encouragement really makes a difference.

Also many thanks to all the volunteers who were involved in marshalling, registration, timekeeping, recording and catering.  As usual, all the volunteer help meant the event ran smoothly with Arran swimmers being able to concentrate on their swim. The many spectators on the pier who waited for a long time in bad weather to cheer the swimmers were really appreciated by the swimmers.

This year there was a special presentation from Arran Open Water Swimmers to Mike Mellor who had completed his 10th Splash in a row.

It was disappointing that only 31 swimmers took part with a total of 13 call-offs from the original entry list.

The event raised over £1,000 for the Arran Junior Sailing Club.

Anyone who is interested in open water sea swimming can check out the Arran Open Water Facebook page for times and places of swims.  Swimming takes place right through the winter months but if you want to take part in the Splash next year it would be advisable to start training in early May when the water the sea has started to warm up.

                                                                                                                                   Ann Hart

All photographs by Hugh Boag

Arran swimmers Eric Milton, Mike Mellor and Paul Hewie are all smiles before the start of the splash. 01_B38splash02

Swimmers on the Holy Isle pier prepare for the start. 01_B38splash04

The first swimmers jump into the water. 01_B38spalsh05

The green capped swimmers get a final briefing from Mike Mellor. 01_B38splash06

And they’re off … as the swimmers head for Lamlash. 01_B38splash07

A kayaker keeps a close eye on the swimmers. 01_B38splash08

The swimmers appear to be heading for Cordon as they are pushed off course. 01_B38splash09

An exhausted Aileen Clark climbs ashore after completing the crossing. 01_B38splash11

First man home was Graeme Schreiber. 01_B38splash12

First female, and also first local female, was Lynsey Cuthbertson. 01_B38splash13

Ann Hart presents Mike Mellor with a momento for completing his 10th splash in a row. 01_B38splash14

Heather Queen Keira Willis presents the Ali Bodie Plate to Morag Litton. 01_B38splash15

The Arran swimmers who completed the gruelling splash with Heather Queen Keira Willis. 01_B38splash16