Swimming the English Channel

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I am basically lazy and sloth like by nature but I do like the idea of being fit. So the way I have discovered to allow a lifestyle of pints and pies is to have some sort of physical challenge to do.

I have always liked the idea of swimming the English Channel but thought that it’s a bit far – around 25 miles with tides. Oh, and I cannot swim front crawl. But then I found out that you can do it as part of a relay team… nowhere near as much actual swimming!

So the challenge in under three months is to learn front crawl well enough to swim the channel. The biggest concern is actually the cold as no wet suits are allowed, anyway wet suits would take the fun out of dodging the jelly fish.

Just need to find half a dozen equally stupid people now…

4feb4th February: Had our first meeting and swim with everyone I could find who might be interested in swimming the channel. Obviously meticulously organised and planned by myself, so of course the pool was closed when I told everyone to arrive, no problem we could all meet up and have a chat in the café while we wait for the pool to open. Obviously in the café that was closed too. It was starting well… Click here for more!

27feb27th February: So, going to try and increase the current swimming training to double what I have done to date. There are 107 days left to the swim. There have been 57 days since of one my more rash new year’s resolutions to swim the English Channel. So far I have been swimming once… Click here for more!


6mar6th March: So last weeks swim training consisted of 2 visits to the ‘Masters’ swim class in Leeds at 7am. My first visit was slightly intimidating with around 40 serious swimmers all doing front crawl with one instructor Alan and then me doing breaststroke. Alan told me to have ago at front crawl. After I had managed a length he promptly handed me a float and some fins and had me go right back to basics. Halfway through this session I told him my plan to swim the channel as part of a relay team and he very nearly wet himself laughing… Click here for more!


8mar8th March: As this week I am staying with my family who live by the North Sea, it would seem to make sense to have a go swimming in the sea. A family debate ensued which I am not so sure was influenced totally by concerns for my safety or a perverted sense of humour… Click here for more!


10mar10th March: As I am still posting on Facebook, it would appear that Childrens BBC TV presenters of the 70’s cannot be totally trusted – especially when it comes to boys in swimming trunks. I am still convinced that Blue Peter told me you could only survive for 8 minutes if you fell into the North Sea… Click here for more!


12mar12th March: After swimming in the North Sea for 10 minutes and not getting the uncontrollable shaking till I had been out the water for a few minutes made me a little nervous of trying another swim for but for 50% longer – 15 minutes. What happens if I get the uncontrollable shaking whilst in the sea? Click here for more!

Obviously though with my ace life guard team on side (Mum and Dad with a combined age I had been reminded was 158 years and not 157 years) my safety was assured. So I took the plunge again, this time for 18 minutes. The swim was OK – Ok as it can be in when you cannot feel most parts of your body anyway… Click here for more!

4mar17th March:  I have done it!!! Ok, so not actually swam the channel yet, but got a fab team together to do it – Kenny, Amy, San, Steve and Abigail. We had our first meet up this week as a team. Going around the table everyone was a very, very accomplished and seasoned swimmer and surprisingly they could all actually swim front crawl too… Click here for more!

26mar26th March: Thank you, I think, to those of you that have encouraged me to write a blog about “Swimming the English Channel the Easy Way”.

Unfortunately English was never my strong point at school and they wouldn’t even let me sit an English ‘O’ Level exam as they thought it would be a waste of money… Click here for more!

16apr16th April: So, everyone has been asking how the swim training is going. Swim training is actually quite a grandiose title compared to the reality. It’s more like trying not to drown, arms flailing, attempting to learn front crawl. Still have not manged to do more than 50 metres nonstop without the aid of scuba gear… Click here for more!


25mar25th April: It seems to be that I now need to be focusing my training on seeing how small my genitalia can shrivel while not getting hypothermia. I have to do a certified 2 hour swim in water below 14 degrees to qualify for the channel swim. So far, this has meant travelling to Salford Quays in Manchester, a lovely filtered-water dock. Which, seems a bit silly when I live by Leeds Dock, a lovely working dock fed by the beautifully clean River Aire… Click here for more!

30apr30th April: As I am enjoying the adventure to shrink my genitalia to quite alarming proportions by immersing myself in rat wee invested freezing water so much. I have decided to take this to a National level. The intention is to swim in 5 different outdoor locations over a week. Measuring the cleanliness of each one by how long I suffer man flu symptoms for afterwards… Click here for more!

8may8th May: I decided to make the most of the beautiful weather today and go for a little swim in the sea. Managed an hour and a quarter in the water, my record so far. Although with everyone sunbathing on the beach I did look a bit out of place afterwards shivering uncontrollably, dressed in ski gear… Click here for more!


14may14th May: So, trying to increase the amount of time I can withstand the cold, I was planning an hour and a half swim. Fifteen minutes longer than I have done before and three quarters of the way to the 2 hours I need to do before they let me on the boat… Click here for more!


20may20th May: Our attempt at the Channel swim is just over 3 weeks away, however before we can definitely go ahead with it each of the team has to complete a certified swim for 2 hours in open water that is below 15.5 degrees. Of course, I am the only one in the team who hasn’t done this yet… Click here for more!


24th May24th May: Yeahhh!!! Not only have I managed a 2 hour swim in the sea at 11 degrees – there was no need to call the coastguard or even an ambulance – result! The sea was a tad rougher than I would have preferred but you cannot have everything when you leave it to the last minute. Obviously the Channel will be a lot calmer than the nice sheltered bay I was swimming in… Click here for more!


3jun3rd June: So, time is getting close – 10 days till our first potential slot could come up for the English Channel swim! Had our last group meet up and swim before Dover with the rest of the Coast Busters team.

We were over at Colwyn Bay for a proper sea swim rather than wussy lakes with no waves, seawater or jelly fish. Although a couple of the others were stung, I have still never been kissed by a jelly fish – their stings do look suspiciously like love bites. Unfortunately, this means my anticipation and fear of how much they do actually hurt is currently through the roof… Click here for more!

8thjun8th June: Off to Dover on Saturday to wait for the phone call that the weather is good and our slot has come up to attempt to swim the English Channel. Apparently, I have to try and squeeze in a night swim in the sea beforehand so I am comfortable swimming in the pitch black, lovely. Then again, I might just try putting black paint over my goggles and doing the swim in a nice warm pool instead… Click here for more!

9jun9th June: So, just booked my train ticket for Saturday morning Dover bound. We have slot no. 3 booked on the boat between Monday 13th June and 20th we would therefore expect to be swimming on the Wednesday. If the first or second team in line cannot swim for whatever reason we might swim earlier in the week or could get pushed back later in the week if there is bad weather… Click here for more!


10jun10th June: In Less than 18 hours we will attempt to swim the English Channel!!! We start at 2.30am Saturday morning which has thrown me in to a total panic as was expecting to swim on Wednesday. Apparently though when it comes to swimming the channel if there is a good weather forecast you just drop everything, panic and go for it… Click here for more!

11jun111th June: So the Coast Busters English Channel relay attempt officially started at 3.57am, weather is pretty good, sea a bit colder than we would have liked at 14 degrees but should be ok, maybe famous last words.

Obviously being the slowest swimmer I am the last of the six to do my hour which will start at 8.57am… Click here for more!

11jun211th June (2): We have only gone and swam the bloody English Channel!!!

We hit the beach in France at 5.30 uk time completing the swim in 13 hours 31 minutes! To say the swim has been a roller coaster ride is a little of an under statement – both physically and even more so mentally… Click here for more!




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