Friday, January 03, 2014

Adventurer To Attempt To Swim Around Ireland

In my opinion, there are very few tests of endurance as grueling as a long distance swim. Spending hours in the water, generally isolated and alone, even with a support team, can be a mentally and
physically exhausting experience. Long distance swimmers burn calories quickly and are usually hungry and bordering on dehydration most of the time. It is a very tough activity, even for the hardiest of individuals, which is why I have enormous respect for those who take on such a challenge. Later this year, adventurer Ripley Davenport will attempt just such an undertaking when he will try to become the first person to swim around Ireland, covering a distance of roughly 850 miles (1367 km) in the process. 

The circumnavigation swim isn't set to get underway until sometime this summer, but the official website for the round Ireland swim is now online. Ripley says that he'll be swimming clockwise around the island country, starting at Derrynane, County Kerry. His route will take him out into the Atlantic Ocean before moving around the crown of Northern Ireland, through the Northern Channel, and turning south into the Irish Sea. From there, he'll swim across the Saint George Channel and into the Celtic Channel, as he once again returns to the Atlantic, and back to his starting location.

A support team will shadow Ripley aboard a yacht while he makes his swim and a paddler in a kayak will be close at hand at all times. Davenport will be in a wetsuit to help protect him from the chilling waters he'll face along the way and he'll carry a GPS tracker so we can all follow along with his progress as well. In preparation for the full journey, he also plans to make a 30-mile (48 km) open water swim in May as a prelude to the start of the challenge. 

Ripley will undertake his swim around Ireland in an effort to raise funds and awareness for MS Ireland, an organization that supports those suffering with Multiple Sclerosis in that country. Davenport was diagnosed with the disease back in 2011 and yet he continues to seek adventure at every opportunity. Being able to complete this swim will be an epic undertaking and a way of demonstrating that those with MS can still accomplish great things.

Good luck to Ripley. We'll be following along later this year. 

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