Challenging challenges, Part 1

On our way north for the second part of the swim, we detoured via Mark Beaumont and his mum.  Yes, even superheroes have mums. It was a quasi- work gig for our kayaker Ian, a mate of Mark’s. For those who don’t know, Mark pedalled to fame when he cycled round the world after leaving university. Some gap year! He’s had all sorts of adventures since then, and of relevance here is his Highland Line Challenge with STV earlier this year. In June he swam and ran along the boundary of the Scottish Highlands from Arran in the Clyde to Stonehaven, just south of Aberdeen.  Never having done much swimming, he spent the winter training for the swims and in particular the one from Arran to Bute, about 10 km of open sea. The programme hadn’t been broadcast when we met in September, but I’d read his blog about it and we had a quick chat in the sunshine.


In my memory, it went something like this:-

Mark: “I’m not a swimmer. I know how hard it is now – it’s very impressive what you’re doing.”

Me: “But we’re doing it in bits and it’s not the open sea. The sea was still so cold in June, and you did that stretch non stop.”

Caroline, who witnessed this exchange, says that in fact it went more like this:

Mark: “Your swim was much harder than mine.”

Christine: “No, no, yours was much harder.”

Mark: “Nope, yours was the hardest.”

Christine: “I don’t agree…”

Well, you get the idea.


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