Historic sea swim returns to Highlands

Swimmers take on the Kessock Ferry crossing in 1954.

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The relaunch of an historic sea swim in the Highlands is close to being a sell-out success, writes Fiona Russell.

Just 36 hours after entries opened for the Kessock Ferry Swim 2022, almost two-thirds of places had been secured.

Now the event, which takes place on June 25, is almost at full capacity.

Yet, the swim between South Kessock to North Kessock, near Inverness, is not an easy
undertaking. Swimmers need to complete a 1200 metre return crossing in the exposed and cold tidal waters of a strait between the Beauly and Moray firths.

The organiser of the swim, which last took place more than 50 years ago, is Johannes
Petersen, who is also the founder of outdoor education charity Àban.

He believes the history and unique location of the Kessock Ferry Swim have boosted
interest.

He said: ‘Open water swimming has become much more popular in recent years and there are plenty of events for people to enter across the UK.

‘I think people are always looking for something different and our swim challenge ticks
many boxes.’

The swim route is one that is known to many who live or visit the city of Inverness thanks to the Kessock Bridge, which spans the strait. Indeed it was the ferry crossing route that first gave rise to the idea of a swim for local people with the first one taking place in 1947.

Times have changed and regulations require experienced safety support crew for the present event. While wetsuits are optional for swimmers aged over 18, they must all use a high visibility tow float.

The swim, which is raising funds for a number of charities will take place when the tide is considered optimal for a safe crossing.

It is expected that at least 250 people will swim on the day, although there is capacity for 300 swimmers.

Johannes added: ‘We are delighted by how popular this event is already. If anyone would like to enter they should do so soon.

‘We are also hopeful that this swim will now become an annual event.’

There is plenty of local community support for the return of the swim challenge.
While 75 per cent of funds raised will go to Àban, 25 per cent will be handed to a chosen
official charity each year.

The event has three main sponsors, Visit Inverness and Loch Ness, Gael Force Group and North Kessock Dental Practice.

For more information see: https://aban.scot/kessock-ferry-swim