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An Oban adventurer plans to swim, run and cycle the Outer Hebrides on July 30 in a unique challenge to raise £10,000 for charity.
James Armour, aged 25, is combining his twin passions of endurance sports and the environment to raise money and the profile of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, based in Tobermory.
The Selkie, named after the mythological seal-folk that could shed their skin and walk on land, will take him from Barra Head Lighthouse to the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.
Meeting people on the way, it will incorporate an energy-sapping 20 miles of swimming, 52 miles of running and 112 miles of cycling.
Documentary maker Scott Abraham is following his progress and on Friday, James began his open water practice supported by a kayaker, Basking Shark Scotland and his girlfriend Ada Pedersen.
In a carb-burning blockbuster, 11-and-half stone James swam the 5.5km from Mull to Kerrera, followed by a 4km run on the island then a 6oom swim back to the mainland – all in teeth-chattering water temperatures of around 8°C (46.4F).
Originally from Edinburgh, James has competed in European Iron Man competitions and cares passionately about the environment having worked in Denmark as a project manager for a clean technology company.
Having travelled the world and marvelled at different species of animal, The Selkie is all about recognising the abundance of marine life on Scotland’s west coast and supporting the trust which raises awareness, protection and the conservation of whales and dolphins here.
James said: ‘I care a lot about the planet and our environment and I have been lucky to travel all around the world. But it was only quite recently that I recognised what we have here in front of us on the West Coast – from killer whales to minke whales and rhesus dolphins. I was completely oblivious.’
Of dipping his toe in the water for a practice, James said it was about acclimatising, dodging jellyfish and getting used to the effect of the wind in open sea.
‘I’ve swum up and down Ganavan and I have swum up and down Tralee beach, which is very well protected, so I have not done open water like this. It’s a different kettle of fish.
‘It’s more about preparing for the mental game, because you’re isolated, you’re out there and I am bit nervous but I think that’s important too, because you should be really.’
On May 29, James plans to swim to the Isle of Raasay and has warm-ups planned for other islands, including Arran. He has a talk at Oban High School in the diary for next month.
To contribute to James’s fundraising effort, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JamesArmour