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Rebecca gets lochy in Caledonian Great Glen Swim challenge

24 September 2013

Experienced ice swimmer Rebecca Jarre is leading an all-female team aiming to swim the four lochs linking the Caledonian Canal over three days in September whilst fundraising for PCRF.

Rebecca JarreThe three-day, 42-mile Caledonian Great Glen Swim begins at Loch Lochy on 27 September, with the eight-strong team moving on to swim Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour in average water temperatures of 4°C. To Rebecca’s knowledge, the route has never before been swum breaststroke by a team, so she’s contacted the Guinness Book of World Records to ask whether an official adjudicator could come along to witness the feat.

Rebecca’s aiming for more than a World Record though – she’s also a passionate supporter of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and has been raising money for the charity on behalf of her friend, pancreatic cancer patient Cath Winterburn from Huddersfield. “I’ve been a cold water swimmer for years now and it just seems right to be taking on this challenge,” says Rebecca. “Cath is a great friend to me and I hope we will raise a lot of money for this very worthwhile charity.”

The team that Rebecca’s assembled for the swim ranges in age from 15-60 and includes Jackie Cobell, who recently took part in the Bering Strait Relay Swim from Russia to Alaska. Determined Jackie also holds the world record for the slowest-ever English Channel swim, taking 28 hours and 44 minutes to complete the crossing due to changing tides and high winds.

The other team members include Elizabeth Wood, a marathon swimmer and triathlete who lives near Inverness and Anne Tennet, another marathon swimmer who lives near Edinburgh. Completing the team are experienced swimmers Jane Hardy, Sam Plum, Debbie Taylor and 15 year old Hazel Killingbeck. Rebecca is proud of her own Scottish heritage and is looking forward to completing the challenge in Scotland. “The adrenaline rush of swimming in cold water is absolutely amazing,” she says. It’s going to be very hard, and we will have to swim a lot of miles each day, but it will be more than worth it to raise money for PCRF.”

Organising the swim has required extensive planning on Rebecca’s part, as well as on-going liaison with the Scottish Canals body. Accompanying the swimmers is a support team of eight: four land-based to look after all the equipment and transport the team, and four kayakers in the water to safeguard the swimmers and alert sailing craft. “There are a lot of health and safety regulations which we have to adhere to before and during the swim, but we’re all really excited and ready to get going,” says Rebecca.

Grandmother-of-two Cath adds: “Rebecca has been a fantastic friend to me since I met her in 2011. She helped me a lot in the aftermath of my terminal diagnosis and I can’t thank her enough. I hope they raise a lot of money for PCRF and have a lot of fun in Scotland.”

If you’d like to boost the team’s fundraising for PCRF, please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/openwaterswimmers

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