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The sun shone and even the tides lent a helping hand to the 40 swimmers taking part in the annual Lamlash Splash – a gruelling 1.3 mile swim from Holy Isle to Lamlash.
With an easterly wind blowing, the sea was unusually much calmer at the Holy Isle pontoon where the swimmers set off, however, it was very bumpy once the swimmers left the shelter of the Holy Isle which made for difficult conditions for the kayakers and the swimmers. Fortunately, with the direction of the waves, the swimmers were given a helping hand with some managing to ‘surf’ the waves back to the pier.
There was a full complement of 40 swimmers this year, including 13 local swimmers, which meant that nearly £1000 was raised for the Arran Junior Sailing Club.
Although timed, the Splash as it is affectionately known, is not a race and while some swimmers are very competitive, most are just happy to partake and complete the swim.
The first male back was Alan Bowey, a regular Splasher, in a time of 35.14 followed by Graeme Schreiber, last year’s winner, in 36.36. In third place was local swimmer Glen Sloss who was also first local male.
First female was Lesley Kay in 42.03 and the second female and first local was Lorraine Hewie with a time of 42.05. A fantastic achievement for her first Splash. Third female was Jan Roxburgh in 45.17.
Following the swim the Ali Bodie Plate was presented by the Heather Queen, Imogen Allison, to Dean and Rhona Dunbar. Both Dean and Rhona have swum in the Splash a number of times but this was the first time in three years. In the past, Dean, who is partially sighted, has swum with a different swim buddy but this was first time that his wife, Rhona had led him wearing yellow socks for him to follow – not an easy task in the sea conditions. Dean and Rhona were watched over by kayaker Annie Lloyd for which the duo expressed their gratitude.
On behalf of the locals, Mike Mellor presented Ann Hart with a photo canvas of a winter swim on Christmas Eve in Lamlash. Ann has now completed ten swims in a row and has organised the event for many years.
Andy McNamara of the popular Otter’s Tail adventure organisation did an exemplary job as the lead safety officer for the first time and ensured that swimmers’ safety was paramount with the kayakers and RIBs keeping the swimmers in a much tighter channel than usual.
Organiser Ann Hart said: ‘Thanks must go to Andy McNamara and also to the Holy Isle ferry for transporting swimmers over to the Holy Isle. Thanks to the Coastguard and RNLI who were also on hand and to Greg Hamill who was there as medical officer.
‘Many thanks to all the volunteers involved in marshalling, registration, time-keeping, recording and catering, without whom the event would not be so successful with many swimmers returning year after year. Also a great big thank you to the huge number of spectators who came along to support the swimmers.’
The Arran Open Water Swimmers meet on a regular basis throughout the year and anyone who is considering taking up this activity can find details of swims on their Facebook page. The best time of year for new sea swimmers to start is May when the water has started to warm up.
The next Splash will take place on Saturday September 20, 2020, and inquiries are already being made to take part in this popular event.
The swimmers set off in calm conditions aided by the shelter of Holy Isle. Photograph: Andy McNamara. No_B39splash01
A total of 13 local swimmers took part this year. 01_B39splash02
Swimmers wave goodbye as they are transported to the start of the race by the Holy Isle ferry. 01_B39splash03
Alan Bowey looks relaxed as he returns home in first place with a time of 35.14. 01_B39splash04
Last year’s winner Graeme Schreiber came in second place and received a huge round of applause from the spectators. 01_B39splash05
In third place overall and the first local to finish, Glenn Sloss, emerges from the water. 01_B39splash06
Local swimmer Eric Milton arrives back to hearty applause. 01_B39splash07
A good crowd of supporters line the pier and jetty to welcome the swimmers back. 01_B39splash08
Local swimmer Georgina Maclean emerges from the water. 01_B39splash09
Organiser Ann Hart completes her 10th Splash. 01_B39splash10
Local swimmer Mike Mellor completes his swim and rushes back to work to complete an afternoon shift. 01_B39splash11
Heather Queen Imogen Allison presents the Ali Bodie Plate to Dean and Rhona Dunbar. 01_B39splash12
First local female was Lorraine Hewie who is photographed with her husband Paul. 01_B39splash13
Organiser Ann Hart is presented with a gift for all of her hard work on the anniversary of her 10th swim. 01_B39splash14
A swan and her signets cross the bay as the first pink caps of the swimmers can be seen returning to the jetty. 01_B39splash15
First female home was Lesley Kay closely followed by the second female and first local Lorraine Hewie.