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Herald reporter makes a splash

Fife Herald chief reporter Lindsey Quinn joined eight other daring swimmers to brave the waters of Tayport Harbour as they swam a 1.6-mile course to Broughty Ferry. Here is how she got on…

Six months ago or so the idea of swimming the Tay for charity seemed like a great idea – July would be sunny and the water would be warm. Surely?

So when Sunday’s torrential downpour came – hailstones and all – I really thought all of the organisation, harbour training and weeks of being referred to as ‘flipper’ may have been in vain.

But what’s a few drops of water falling from the sky when you’re about to tackle the challenge of swimming a stretch of water 1.6 miles long between Tayport and Broughty Ferry?

Knowing that not only did we want to prove to ourselves that we could do it – and hopefully raise over £2,500 between us for two local Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres – eight hardy souls and myself, shivered as we stripped down to our swimwear and covered ourselves in petroleum jelly while perching on the edge of Tayport Harbour.

The crowd of family, friends and even dogs which had gathered to watch us offered their support while, at the same time, smiling contentedly – safe in the knowledge they weren’t about to take the plunge into the cold, murky depths.

But the waiting, as usual, was the worst part and by the time Joyce McIntosh, of Ye Amphibious and Ancients Bathing Association of Broughty Ferry, got us linked up with our trusty boatmen, we were all raring to go.

Minutes later, as we treaded water while lined up against the harbour wall, the starting shot was given and we were off!

At this stage all I could see was the huge grey mass of water which separated me from my goal but, luckily, we all managed to set a pretty good pace from the start and even though the boats fanned out to cross the estuary, everyone remained closely in touch with their nominated lifesaver and boatman.

Our first goal was to reach the orange buoy which signalled we had reached the middle of the river – unfortunately this was also the coldest point in the entire swim.

Having recovered from this freezing patch, I was told to head in the direction of the RNLI pier, but stroke after stroke it took a while before the pier seemed to come any closer.

Then there were the jellyfish – a group of around 15 big ones which, luckily, were spotted by my boatman just before I swam right through them.

With about a quarter of the distance to go, the crowd gathered at the ‘Phibbie’s clubhouse began to come into view and I think this gave us all a boost.

Relieved and still shocked that I had actually made it to the other side, I clambered shakily up the ladder – glad to be back safe and sound on dry land and happy I could tell sponsors I had swam the Tay and now it was their turn to pay!

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