Gosport Swimmer Abandons Scottish Challenge

14 August 2013, 05:56 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

The Gosport woman, attempting to swim around the island of Tiree in the Hebrides has been forced to abandon her challenge.

37 year old endurance swimmer Anna Wardley set of at 05.19 BST on the 30 mile challenge on Tuesday (13th August), but had to abandon her attempt after completing 22 miles in 16 hours.

Anna was wwimming under BLDSA rules which means she was only allowed to wear a swimsuit, hat and a pair of goggles. Tiree is the Inner Hebrides most westerley island and, with bitterly cold water, it's not thought anyone has ever swam round it; it's not even known if it is possible.

After her attempt Anna said: “It was really tough out there today and I am utterly exhausted but I’m proud of what I achieved, although it was not what I set out to do.

“It was hugely encouraging to hear of all the support I had around the world as I swam and I’m massively grateful for all the donations that my charities received.”

The swim was called off as Anna was hallucinating and was so cold her chattering teeth were preventing her from breathing properly. "If you can't breathe properly as a swimmer it's game over," she said. “I was colder than I’ve ever been and it was really biting into my core. As my pace slowed I got even colder.”

Tiree was the fourth of the swims on her Five Island Swim Challenge, following successful circumnavigations of Dragonera (Spain) in May 2012, Portsea (UK) in June 2012 and Jersey in June 2013.

Her challenge is due to culminate with a solo and non-stop swim around the Isle of Wight, which is expected to take in the region of 30 hours, at the end of September 2013.

Anna is raising funds for the Samaritans, Sail Africa and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust through her Five Island Swim Challenge. To date she has raised £42,000 through her swimming challenges since taking up the sport six years ago, and has set a target of raising £50,000.