A swim from the Isle of Mull to Oban on the evening of Friday 7 May was just the start of a ‘summer of endurance’ for James Armour, who is raising funds for conservation charity the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.
James set off from Grass Point on Mull and swam 5.5km through the strong tidal waters of the Firth of Lorne – arriving at Kerrera Ferry Terminal on the mainland after two hours, 46 minutes.
Boat support to ensure a safe crossing was given by local wildlife guides Basking Shark Scotland, with outdoors adventure experts Primal Adventures providing logistical support.
But the year is set to get even tougher for James, who is setting out to raise at least £10,000 for the Trust by becoming the first person ever to swim, run and cycle the length of the Outer Hebrides in one attempt.
In a challenge called the Selkie Race – after the seal folk who shed their skins and venture ashore – James will set off on 30 July and make his way across land and sea during his non-stop epic adventure.
Starting at Barra Head Lighthouse on Bernera at the southernmost point of the Western Isles, James will swim 20 miles, run 52 miles and cycle 112 miles to reach the northern tip of the Outer Hebrides at the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.
“Our Atlantic waters are blessed with spectacular native species including minke whales, basking sharks, killer whales, harbour porpoises, bottlenose dolphins and much more. Yet unfortunately these animals are facing many human-driven pressures such as warming seas, plastic pollution and net entanglement,” said James.
“So my race is an opportunity to give back to the conservation of these species and our precious oceans, by supporting the wonderful work of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.
“The Scottish isles are a beautiful place. The nature, wildlife and scenery are what make them incredibly special, and I want this race to be an opportunity to share the beauty of these islands and encourage all of us to connect with nature once again.”
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust monitors and protects whales, dolphins and porpoises in areas of critical habitat on the west coast of Scotland. Its programme of science, education and engagement works to ensure these remarkable mammals thrive in harmony alongside coastal communities and have a safe long-term future.
“James is setting out to do something absolutely remarkable for Scotland’s whales, dolphins and porpoises. We are beyond grateful, and we’ll be wishing him lots of luck every step, pedal and kick of the way,” said the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s Director Alison Lomax.
To support James, visit http://bit.ly/SelkieRace to donate.
James can also be followed on Instagram at @jamesarmour_ as he prepares for the Selkie Race in what he describes as a ‘suffer-fest’ of training in icy water and early morning starts.
For more details about the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, see hwdt.org.