Swimmer set to break record for longest staged sea swim

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A swimmer is set to break the world record for the longest staged sea swim on the 74th day of his journey around the British mainland.

Ross Edgley, 32, has not set foot on land since he left Margate in Kent on June 1 on his 2000-mile challenge.

On Tuesday he is set to break Benoit Lecomte’s record of 73 days spent swimming across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998.

Mr Edgley, who is now off Kyle of Lochalsh on the west coast of Scotland, thinks he has swum around 1000 miles so far.

He swims for two six hour stretches a day when the tide changes and rests for the remainder of the time on his support boat.

However he estimates he still has another 60 days of swimming to go before he reaches Margate to complete the challenge.

Ross Edgley
Swimmer Ross Edgley has encountered plenty of wildlife on his journey (Red Bull Media House/PA)

“We’ve been having a mini celebration over breakfast but there are still more than 900 miles to go, so we’re trying to celebrate but at the same time understanding there’s still so far to go.”

The new record will be verified by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA).

Mr Edgley, from Grantham in Lincolnshire, has long been interested in British explorers and was inspired to undertake the challenge because no-one has swum around the British mainland before.

The experience has taken its toll on his body as he experienced “salt mouth” where chunks of his tongue began falling off due to exposure to the salty water, and painful chafing from his wetsuit.

Jellyfish are another hazard but he has also had amazing experiences with wildlife including being followed for around five hours by a minke whale and swimming alongside dolphins.

He has also experienced kindness from local people who anonymously came out to leave fudge on the boat while he and the crew were resting in Devon.

And while off the west coast of Scotland a wild swimmer called Iona swam out with a freshly baked cake on her head.

Mr Edgley needs to eat 10,000 to 15,000 calories a day and refuels with four to five super food shakes a day and eating everything from pizzas to burgers and fish and chips – and has eaten 356 bananas so far.

The adventurer has not seen as much of the coastline as expected on his journey.

He said: “I’ve had some really unique experiences with the wildlife.

“But for 74 days of swimming I’ve spent more than 20 of them face down staring at the bottom of the seabed so I’ve been experiencing the British coastline through other senses.

“Scottish water is a lot colder and tastes fresher and the Irish sea tastes nice and was an amazing turquoise colour. There have been lots of jellyfish and the jellyfish in Scotland are bigger and meaner.

“We’ve still got a long way to go with Cape Wrath, John O’Groats and then down to Newcastle. When we reach Lincolnshire we’ll be on the home strait.

“There is a lot to look forward to but a long way to go as well.”

Mr Edgley said he could not do the challenge without the crew on his support boat Hecate, captained by Matt Knight.

He said: “Everyone on board is just as invested in the challenge as myself and we’re a team.

“And as a team we’ve figured out a blueprint which may make this possible.”

His journley can be followed on the live tracker at RedBull.co.uk/GreatBritishSwim and weekly vlogs are posted at youtube.com/redbull.

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