Georgina’s a swim champion

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An Arran open water swimmer has completed a circumnavigation of Arran as a personal challenge and to highlight her opposition to a proposed fish farm in the north of the island.

Georgina Maclean of Lamlash symbolically finishing her heroic feat near the shore of the proposed site where the Scottish Salmon Company are seeking permission to build 20 120-meter in circumference pens. Georgina was welcomed back by friends and supporters of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST).

Georgina completed the 121.9km (76 mile) swim in 42.3 hours over 18 stages starting on Monday June 3 and ending on Saturday June 29 – roughly the equivalent of  2,438 lengths of an Olympic swimming pool.

Speaking after her swim, Georgina said: ‘Hopefully my Arran swim has highlighted the potential damage we can inflict on our historically pristine coastal waters and why it is so important we don’t farm fish here or permit any pollutants, be it plastic, chemicals or sewage, to be dumped at sea.

‘I’ve experience first- hand and up close how beautiful our coastline is and am now more determined than ever to do whatever it takes to keep it that way. If I have in any way inspired people to think more about how they could possibly help to conserve and protect our seas, then it’s a win for me.

‘Arran and the wider Firth and Clyde region do not need any more manufactured, unsustainable, polluting open caged fish farms with profits going overseas to foreign companies whose governments do not allow manufactured open caged farming on their shores, because of the damage it causes to their own waters.’

People who wished to support Georgina in her challenge were directed to make a donation towards the marine conservation charity COAST who have been on the front line of voicing their opposition to fish farm development on Arran and throughout Scotland.

Celebrating the massive accomplishment Georgina thanked everyone who supported her during the challenge, saying: ‘ It would not have been possible to achieve this personal challenge without the support, encouragement and tolerance from several people, there are no words to thank them enough.

‘Thank you to Derek Morgan,  Nikki Thom, Jo and Colin Totty, Jemma and Scruff, Zabdi Keen, Inge Brown, Fiona Clarke, Andrew Rigby and Mike Godwin, Dave Lydon, Luke Furze, Gavin Cameron, Rob and Nanette Cowieson, Arran Open Water Swimmers, Chris Attkins, Otter’s Tail Adventures, Lucy and Wally Wallace, Martin Wood and the Arran Kayak Club team.  Thank you also to the team at COAST – Paul Chandler, Russ and Elspeth Cheshire, Howard Wood, Angus Robson and Jenny Stark to name but a few who have all offered words of support and Ribs as well as the inclination to keep going!

‘Thanks too,  to all who have donated to COAST in order to help keep the education, pressure and awareness that we need to all be guardians of the sea, and lastly to my parents, Judy and Jim Lepley, who encouraged me into the water from an early age to discover my love for swimming and the sea.’

Swimmer Georgina Maclean. 01_B27swim01

Georgina and support swimmer Jo Totty pass the Cock of Arran. Photo: Angus Robson/Howard Wood. No_B27swim01

An unusual perspective of Georgina during her swim from under the waterline. Photo: Gus Robson. No_B27swim02

A flotilla of support vessels and kayaks joined Georgina in the final leg of her circumnavigation. Photo: Nanette Cowieson. No_B27swim03

Members of COAST, supporters and friends welcome Georgina back after completing her challenge. Photo: Nanette Cowieson. No_B27swim04