Sunday flew by and I didn’t have time to get nervous until I was standing in my wetsuit under the official lands end sigh with the words ‘Swimming Britain’ written above me. This was it. No other person has ever stood here in a wetsuit with the intention of swimming to John O’Groats. Planning the adventure took a lot of time and the few weeks leading up where such a whirlwind I didn’t have time to actually take it all in.
After a few press shots I was then told that no-one wanted to take me to the start as they thought the sea and tide was too strong- even for their boats. Even the lifeguards said they couldn’t as they needed to be seen to take people out of the water and not put them in. Fair enough even though at the time I was annoyed. I had no other choice, I’d have to swim to the start and then back again. So I went down to Sennen and got in the water. It was cold but I felt good. I flew along with Em in the kayak next to me. I made it to Lands End in half an hour and then turned around to head back. This is when I realised exactly what the fishermen where talking about. The tides were so strong. I pushed and pushed but after an hour I hadn’t made more then 100 meters progress. I didn’t know what to do. I looked at Em who was also being pushed backwards in the kayak. I could see crowds of people now gathering high on the cliff tops. This was going to be embarrassing. Imagine I needed rescuing in the first mile. I decided to head for the rocks along the shore which seemed dangerous but might provide an alternative. I pushed on slowly and came to a gap that was 2 meters wide on the corner of the mainland head. By now I was out of sight of everyone and was worried they might not know what had happened to me. I didn’t know how strong it was, it looked dangerous, so asked Em to go ahead. She did so and then signalled to me it was OK. I pushed hard using most my energy just to get through the gap and popped out the other side. I was knackered and needed to rest. I found a rock and after working out the wave speed managed to beach myself. I was quite cold and tired but need to rest my arms. I waited there for a good 15 minutes before jumping back in and making my way back to Sennen which was a little easier now that I was around the corner. I had planned to carry on from Sennen but I’m glad I didn’t. Jez was still on the world’s slowest bus from London and we needed to sort stuff out on the boat. I said goodbye to everyone and went back to Penzance where the boat was moored, had some fish and chips, and then went to bed. Day one was complete. I still have lots to get right but it’s nice to be in the water. Let the adventure begin.