Blogging Edge 2015 UK Blog Awards

8 Oct
Blogging Edge UK Blog Awards 2015

Blogging Edge UK Blog Awards 2015

I had the most amazing email today:

You were nominated by readers in the Blogging Edge 2015 UK Blog Awards and we’ve selected you as one of the 5 finalists in the Sport category. Congratulations!

People can vote for you at until 29th October. You just need to click Sport on the right and then find yourself on the map.

Isn’t that awesome? Thank you so much to whoever nominated me! It is such an honour. It would really make my day month year, if you would vote for me. Thank you x

Durlach Turmberglauf

7 Oct

Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Germany for an education conference. I was really excited as I love Germany. I had private lessons for two years when I did my German A-level (because no-one else wanted to study the subject at my school) and also attended extra evening classes and conversation classes. Then I chose to do a German module when I was at university.

I have to admit a downside of visiting Germany is that it’s not always easy to find vegetarian food, but I am completely addicted to brezel!

Brezel with chives

I managed to buy a brezel with chives on my trip from Stuttgart to Karlsruhe!

I much prefer the breakfasts in Germany to a ‘full English’. Most days I had some fruit, some yoghurt and some brezel – yummy!


Fig, melon, pineapple and mohnstrudel (sweet bread with poppyseeds).


Bread roll with cheese selection.


Brezel and cheese

The food at the conference was delicious – a selection of fresh fruit, open sandwiches, yoghurts and quark was available at every break time.



Fortunately, it wasn’t all eating and studying. I also got to see a little bit of the city when I was walking to and from the conference venue. I particularly liked this block of flats with its intricate mosaic.


Before going to the conference, I happened to notice did a bit of research and found that a 10k race would be held in nearby Durlach on Saturday afternoon. It was reasonably priced at €10, so I thought I might as well enter. However, I had failed to take note of the date: October 3rd. This probably doesn’t mean much to many of you, but if I were to start whistling ‘Winds of Change’ by The Scorpions then it might remind some of you of Germany’s recent history. October 3rd is Reunification Day, so it’s a Public Holiday in Germany, which means that only bakeries are open and public transport is limited. To compound this, it’s the 25th anniversary, so when I got on a tram at 10:15am, it was already packed with women in dirndls and men wearing lederhosen, swigging away on bottles of beer.


A couple in traditional dress


A group of young men waiting for the tram

Trachten (traditional German clothing) has become increasingly popular in recent years, and there were displays in many shop windows.



Anyway, I carefully read through the race details: “Der Turmberglauf ist ein flacher, schneller Lauf durch die Durlacher Altstadt”… it seems that fast and flat are keywords that all Race Directors like to include in their race info, no matter where they are held. However, I was uncertain whether it would be true as Turmberg translates as tower hill.

The race wasn’t due to start until 4pm, so I spent the morning going on the funicular railway up the mountain and then climbing many spiral steps in the tower. I’m sure it’s great as strength training, but probably not ideal on race day. Then again, as a hideous Tuesday night track session has been my only run for two months, I figured any training would be better than none.IMG_6471


The view of Durlach from the top of the funicular railway.



I’m terrible at taking selfies, but I took a couple to capture me with the beautiful view from the top of the tower.

IMG_6477 IMG_6479

After I’d looked around the tower, I walked back into town and wandered around for a little bit before going to register. It was a simple process, so it didn’t take long.

At 2pm the children’s races started. It was fantastic to see hundreds of children taking part in single year groups from 5-12. I didn’t see any scarily competitive parents and many of the children were wearing incredibly odd outfits for running (such as dresses and tights or jeans and hoodies). There were a few tears, but everyone finished their races to cheers from the crowd.

At 3:30pm, it was time to pin on my number, and head to the start. It was 25C and even in the shade I had been feeling the heat. I decided to buy a glass of water in the registration hall, but only sparkling water was available, which wasn’t really what I wanted.

The event is a well-supported community race, with a competitive element between the local schools. There was also an option to be weighed at registration as part of a special competition, where people’s time could be divided by their weight with the best score winning. Although I’m carrying a few more kilos than I should, the immense height of many of the other competitors meant that I was fairly confident that they weighed a lot more than me (as well as looking faster).

Interestingly, the only rule for entry into the ‘Volkslauf’ is that the participants are fit and healthy. Scanning the entry list, I saw that there were children as young as 8 who had entered, as well as being a lady in her 80s and a gent in his late 70s. During the race, I saw many young children running with their parents.

The race started promptly at 4pm, however, it wasn’t chip-timed and there was a huge crowd at the start, so I didn’t start my garmin until I crossed the line. The first section was in the old town, which features uneven cobbles as well as lattices of tram rails going in all directions. It then headed along the river, which almost had a breeze, but as the entire race was in full sunlight, it didn’t help much. I think my clothing made me stick out – aside from very young teenagers, I seemed to be the only female in shorts with most of the others wearing full tights. Lycra shorts and compression tshirts (or thick hoodies and tracksuit trousers) were the preferred options for male runners.

Fortunately, it was with the only incline being a lengthy spiral taking us up onto a bridge that crossed the motorway.

There were huge crowds out on much of the course which was nice, but I could feel the heat emanating from them. I hoped that there would be a water station at 5km, but there wasn’t one. At about 6.5km, there was a family with some cups of water on a table in front of their house. I was so grateful!

By 8km, my total lack of training was starting to show as my quads started to seize up. From 400m, I could see the finish arch, so I foolishly decided to go for a heroic sprint. Unfortunately, a group of teenage lads also decided to try to sprint, which brought out my most competitive side. I managed to beat the lads to the line and stopped my watch: 56:08. Horribly slow and I dare say my official time will be even worse as we had to queue in a finish funnel (similar to parkrun) and have the barcode on our race number scanned. Apparently our time will be whatever time we got to the scanner.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 22.40.26Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 22.40.40

There were 9 women in my age category:

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My official time was 56:20, which is the slowest 10k that I’ve run for many years! (Overall, I was 361/580. 180 of the entrants were female).

As a cheap race, there wasn’t a medal (which is fine by me), but we were each given a commemorative glass and as many free refills of (still) water as we wanted – fantastic! I went back to the registration hall and treated myself to some Black Forest gateau. It was a nice end to a fun race.



Workout Wednesday – Pull ups and pick me ups

7 Oct

I love the comedian Zach Anner, so I thought I’d share some of his Workout Wednesday videos.

Not only is this guy funny, he’s actually completely awesome. I can’t do pull ups, but I’m working on it!

How to get a running injury – a step-by-step guide

5 Oct

Everything’s been so busy recently with consecutive weeks of:

  • Scilly Swim Challenge
  • A week away at a conference for work
  • New Forest 100 Sportive
  • YMCA Tour de Y
  • A few days away in Germany for a conference
  • Durlach Turmberglauf

which is why I’ve not been blogging much. I’ve got so many half-written posts, so hopefully I’ll finish some of them soon!

In the meantime, check out this amusing post on ‘How to get a running injury‘. I’d like to think I’m pretty good, but #3 is my enemy… I know rest days are good for you, but I’m so impatient!

Monday Morning Motivation: Whatever your ritual, wherever you ride, #RidewithUs.

21 Sep

I really like this video by Strava – it makes me want to get on my bike and go for a ride.

Ride with Us from Strava on Vimeo.

There are quite a few other short videos showing various rituals that you might also want to check out:

People for bikes

If you feel passionate about cycling, you might want to check out ‘people for bikes’:

“PeopleForBikes is the movement to make riding better for everyone. By collaborating with millions of individual riders, businesses, community leaders, and elected officials, we’re uniting people to create a powerful, united voice for bicycling and its benefits.”

They’ve featured me as one of their community stories:

Wiggle New Forest 100 Sportive

19 Sep
Whilst on the Isles of Scilly, I noticed a post on a Breeze facebook group looking for a ride leader with a first aid certificate to support a 4 day charity bike ride from Ulverston to London (about 360 miles/580km). ‘How convenient that I’ve just completed my first aid certificate’, I thought. It was only after I completed the Scilly Swim Challenge that I realised I had under 3 weeks to train for an event that would be tough. Oops.

I heard that a sportive was taking place on Saturday and that volunteers were required, so I agreed to help with registration in exchange for a free place. I arrived at Matchams at 6:40am, ready for registration to open at 6:45am. There were three events taking place: short (around 40 miles); standard (62 miles); epic (100 miles). It was interesting to see the range of riders and their bikes – several people with rucksacks on old mountain bikes were doing the epic. It was also great to see lots of dads out witheir young sons doing the short route… but I didn’t see a single young girl in registration, which seems rather sad.

When I’d got up at 5:15am, it was cold and misty, so I decided that it would be a good opportunity to try out the thermal tights and matching jersey that I bought last winter. This seemed like a good idea as I was cold on my last cycling excursion. At 9:45am, I was released from registration and I realised that I had made a mistake – it was really hot – oops!

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The majority of the riders had started significantly earlier, but for the first part of the ride, there were still a few cyclists around. However, when I reached the split in the route, I started to wonder whether it would be a lonely ride.

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I discovered quite a crowd of riders at the first aid station (40k), so I decided not to dally too long in the hope of having a bit of company on the next section. It was indeed a busy section, but I was surprised when we came to the second aid station at only 60k. I turned off the main road, realised that I had only turned off for an aid station and got straight back out again.

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By this stage, I felt like I was melting – I’d already drunk two full bottles and was seriously considering removing my jersey – so I was grateful when we got to a shady section.

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I had hoped to finish in a good time, but the heat was too much for me, so I decided just to aim for a ‘gold’ time, which I thought would be 4:15. After the clock ticked past that, I thought I’d aim for <4:30, which I managed… however, I was frustrated to find out that the ‘gold’ time for women was 4:24 and I just missed it.

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Overall, it was a good event, and I hoped it would stand me in good stead for the next week’s adventures.

Monday Morning Motivation – Bounce by Matthew Syed

15 Sep

I’m really interested in Matthew Syed’s hypothesis that talent is a myth and that success is a consequence of purposeful practice.

It is hard to summarise all of Syed’s arguments, but here are some of the elements that he says make someone successful (in sports):

  • Having access to the appropriate kit/facilities
  • Having easy access to a suitable training partner (how many high-profile siblings can you think of? Venus and Serena Williams; Alistair and Jonny Brownlee; Anton and Rio Ferdinand; Andy and Jamie Murray; Tony and Rory Underwood; Phil and Gary Neville; Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko; Michael and Ralf Schumacher…)
  • Having access to a good coach
  • Having access to a club or training group
  • Ability to make quick decisions based on expert knowledge (using chunking patterns)
  • Body type
  • Purposeful practice
  • Responding to feedback
  • Mindset
  • Spark of motivation
  • A belief system
  • Optimism

Suggesting that talent is a myth means that no-one can say that they are not good at something because they were not born with a special ability. I find this to be motivational as it means that my success in life is (mainly) down to my own efforts, with only a bit of luck and genes thrown in.

What do you think of Syed’s hypothesis?

Monday Morning Motivation: Iron Cowboy

14 Sep

James Lawrence is a double world record holder – in 2011 he completed the most half iron distance races in a year and in 2012 he completed 30 iron distance races – but he decided that wasn’t enough, so in June this year he set off on a journey to complete 50 full Ironman distances in 50 days in 50 states. His journey ended in July, but it’s an unofficial record as he didn’t race on official courses. Why did he do this then, if not to set a record?

“My goal is simply to inspire others to challenge themselves and to be more active.
Together with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation we can all be part of the movement to fight obesity.”
– James Lawrence

Lawrence ran to raise awareness and funds for a non-profit that combats childhood obesity. At the end of every running portion of his Ironmans, he invited supporters from around the U.S. to join him and run the final 5K of the race with him.

This video reflects on Lawrence’s 30 iron distance races (not his recent 50 triathlons), but it’s still inspirational.

Scilly Swim Challenge – the big day!

12 Sep
Osmo preload

Osmo preload

We’d got everything ready the night before, so just needed to get dressed and eat breakfast. I opted for porridge with protein powder (as usual), and a bottle of Osmo preload (kindly provided by ProBikeKit). The night before, Roelie and I had drunk a bottle each of Osmo preload hydration in pineapple margarita flavour. I could taste the pineapple, but hadn’t realised it was margarita flavour, so it was tangier than I expected. It is recommended that female endurance athletes drink a bottle the night before extreme endurance exercise and some more 30 minutes before exercise. I figured that it might be more than 30 minutes before I started exercising, but that a bit early would be better than not at all.

Unfortunately, we weren’t quite as organised as we’d hoped and when Chris, the swimmer in the apartment next to us, knocked on the door, we weren’t ready. Five minutes later, we headed down the path towards the beach, where everyone was waiting. The sky was grey and the water looked cold and uninviting, but it was too late to back out now. Jane, our host, arrived with her camera and took a photo of the group of us. I also spotted someone with a SUTRI hat on, so we went over and said hello.


Soon, we saw the kayaks appear, so we finished putting our wetsuits on and clambered down onto the beach. There, three flags were set up and the baggage boat had arrived. I took my bag over and was then asked by a ‘skins’ swimmer if I could deposit her bag – this made me so nervous as I was afraid that I might drop it in the water.

I’d made the decision to wear my new wetsuit, with bootees, gloves and two hats. I chose not to wear my neoprene hat as it’s just not very comfortable. (Later in the day I spoke to a swimmer who had a strapless neoprene hat. She explained that it was made by P-Bear, who custom make a variety of neoprene swimming hats – that’s now been added to my Amazon wish list!)

We were told that we would set off in waves with the red/fast group going first, followed by orange/medium and then the green/slow group last. I gave Stu a final hug and the adventure started.

Stuart's pre-event selfie

Stuart’s pre-event selfie

Swim 1. Bar Point, St Mary’s to Higher Town, St Martins (2 miles; 3.2k)

There was about 10 minutes between each of the waves, so there was plenty of time to get nervous. I tried to set off at the front of the group, but it was a bit like the mass start in a triathlon. The water didn’t feel terribly warm and I realised that I hadn’t used my inhaler – oops. I did my best to keep up, but could see others pulling away, so I decided to try to keep as many people within my sight as possible.

I didn’t really have a clear idea of where I was heading, but felt that following others should be OK. After we had got a little distance from the shore, I realised just how choppy it was. I felt like I was constantly being slapped by the water, so I had to change my breathing. For a short while, I was breathing on every other stroke, just to avoid being hit in the face.

Luckily, everything started to settled down and I swam for quite a long time. Sadly, I was approached by a kayaker and was told that I needed to be picked up by a boat. I had been aware that this was a possibility, but it was somewhat disappointing. The adverse weather conditions and the late start meant that it was necessary to hurry some of the group up. I climbed into a boat that already had two swimmers in it and was moved about 300m, where I was offered the chance to get back in to rejoin the other swimmers. One of the ladies was too cold and didn’t want to get in, but I literally jumped at the chance. Usually, I lower myself very carefully into water, as I hate being submerged, but I didn’t want to miss out, so I closed my eyes, held my nose and launched myself off the side of the boat. I then swam as quickly as I could to catch up with the other swimmers.

When I climbed up the steps on the quay, I saw my bag, but couldn’t see Stu or Roelie who had already headed off. I got my flip-flops out and put them on over my swim socks, which fortunately have a split toe. I then saw Bryony. It was nice to see a familiar face and she was incredibly positive.

When I arrived at the cricket pitch, people were eating and ranking everywhere. I had a small piece of cake and a veggie hot dog, along with a cup of tea. I then drank some more Osmo mango during exercise drink. Maybe technically I should have been drinking it whilst swimming, but I figured that between swims would also count as ‘during exercise’.

A bad picture of Stu at the cricket pitch

A bad picture of Stu at the cricket pitch

Roelie enjoying a cup of tea

Roelie enjoying a cup of tea

I removed my bootees for the walk to Lower Town; swapping them for a cosy pair of socks and some Skechers. The weather was starting to brighten up, but I wanted to stay warm.

On the way across the island, a car wanted to go past. Most people stepped off the road, and I managed to walk into a patch of stinging nettles – ouch! If I hadn’t removed my bootees, I would have been OK. I didn’t have any cream to put on my leg, but I figured that the cold water would be soothing!

Stuart and Roelie having a laugh in the sun

Stuart and Roelie having a laugh in the sun

Stuart and Roelie

Stuart and Roelie

The view towards Tresco fomr St Martin's

The views were stunning

Tamsyn and Stuart

A rare picture of Stu and I together.

View towards Tresco from St. Martin's

There aren’t many photos of me from the day, but whenever I wasn’t in the water, I had on my cherished Team SOAS beanie to keep me warm :-)

View towards Tresco from St. Martin's View towards Tresco from St. Martin's

Swim 2. Lower Town, St Martins to New Grimsby, Tresco (1.8 miles; 2.9k) (lunch)

At Lower Town, I decided not to put my bootees back on as I’m never convinced that they help with my swimming, even if they do keep my feet warm. I think the problem is that they were a great bargain (£5), but I would probably have been better off with a slightly smaller size.

This was a tough swim. Every time that I thought I could see the beach that we were heading towards, we had to swim away from it and through some rocks. However, I managed to stay calm and reminded myself of Dory’s catchphrase: ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…’

When we arrived at Tresco, the sun came out which was lovely. People started to warm up and as it was quite a long walk, there were a lot of opportunities to chat to people. I had a chat with the amazing swimming ambassador, Beth French. She explained that her next challenge is to swim the Seven Channels and that she is currently seeking sponsorship for this endeavour.

The weather was really grey when we arrived at Tresco and there were even a few spots of rain.

Tamsyn in the sea

That’s me emerging in the background

Tamsyn in the seaTamsyn in the sea

People were sitting around in the field by the community centre eating and drinking, but the mood was slightly more subdued.

Roelie and Tamsyn

Roelie and I enjoying a well-earned break

I didn’t fancy a pasty (and didn’t think there were any veggie ones), so I had a small cup of soup and a snickers. Then I rummaged around in my bag and found the nectar of the gods: Honey Stinger energy chews in cherry cola flavour. I was sent them by ProBikeKit and was keen to try them. They tasted good and were easy to digest. They also had the benefit of having caffeine in them, which helped to perk me up.

Swim 3. Old Grimsby, Tresco to Annaquay, Bryher (1 mile; 1.6k)

As the swim from Tresco to Bryher is very short, we were told that we would be setting off very close together. The green group went first. We were told what to aim for and were horrified to discover that the spectator boat had suddenly decided to start moving and was going through the pack of swimmers :-O It was only afterwards that we realised that this was simply our impression, and that actually it was because the current was so strong that some of us were pushed towards the boat.

I really enjoyed this swim as the water was very calm and the sun was out. It didn’t take long and we could easily see where we were heading. It was also nice not to be one of the last.


Yes, you are seeing correctly – the cakes are on the altar!


Swimmers in church

Sitting in church surrounded by swimmers in lycra and neoprene with swimming hats still on their heads is probably the strangest thing that I’ve ever witnessed

Stained glass window

The stained glass windows showed scenes from the Scillies with appropriate text, rather than traditional religious images.


Stu warming up in the sun



Roelie discovered that it wasn’t easy to remove her wetsuit whilst wearing her Garmin!

Swim 4. Rushy Bay, Bryher to Samson (no stopping) (1/2 mile; 800m)

In the briefing before this swim we were told that if we were considering not doing the long swim, we shouldn’t do this one as it would be difficult to pick people up. Lots of people decided to pull out and the green group ended up waiting for about 20 minutes for the bags to be loaded onto a boat, the other swimmers to set off and for the new spectators/retired swimmers to be picked up.

© Joanna Clegg

As you can see in this picture, there was a lot of long seaweed! © Joanna Clegg

I had a chat with the team and explained how keen I was to give it all a go, but that I appreciated that they had to consider everyone’s safety, so if I needed to be picked up, that would be OK.

The short swim over to Samson was fine. I crossed the sandbar with a skins swimmer and then we were into a rocky/seaweedy area.

Swim 5. Stony Ledge, Samson to Porth Conger, St Agnes (3.3 miles; 5.3k)

When we had crossed Samson, the water wasn’t deep enough to swim, but it was hard to see the bottom because of the long strands of seaweed, so some people tried to swim. I was grateful that I had my bootees on and managed to keep wading. It was difficult for the kayakers, so they went around the side. Unfortunately, we didn’t properly regroup before starting again. By this stage, we could’t see the previous waves.

It was getting quite cold and the wind had got up, so the sea became increasingly rough. I did everything I could to keep other swimmers in my sights. I managed to hang onto another swimmer, which gave me some confidence as I’ve realised that I really hate feeling alone at sea when I’m quite a long way from the shore.

I think I swam for 1.5-2km before a kayaker came near. I really struggle to hear when I have ear plus in and with the rough sea, I really couldn’t understand what the kayaker was saying. I thought they were directing me to the boat, so I swam over.

The people in the boat were surprised and asked me whether I wanted to be picked up, which caused a bit of a dilemma. There were already two swimmers huddled in the boat and I didn’t want to quit, but I had now lost my swimming buddy, I reluctantly climbed aboard, managing to severely bruise my shins.

I felt like a quitter, but felt slightly better when I heard calls go out on the radio to start picking up the rest of the green wave. We were transferred to the spectator boat, where everyone was very generous. We were offered dry robes, scarves, hats and various other items of clothing, which I declined as I really didn’t feel cold.

When we got to the quay at St Agnes, we were just in time to see the first of the red wave swimmers arrive.

I disembarked and found my bag. I was then asked to keep an eye on a swimmer who was crouched on the quay with a dry robe on. He was a skins swimmer who was shaking with the cold. I asked a spectator if they would be able to get the man a hot drink and they generously gave their hot drink. Unfortunately, the swimmer’s hands were shaking so badly that he was unable to drink it.

Swimmers on St Agnes

There were bags all over the quay

Some of the few swimmers who made it to St Agnes

Some of the few swimmers who made it to St Agnes

I put on my dry robe and headed up the quay to where the hot drinks and cake were. I then walked down to look for Stu’s bag to help him when he arrived, but I was too late – he was already there. He said that he had done 4km, but although his arms and legs were moving, the sea was so rough and the current was so strong that he had not been moving and had been fished out. I later learned that half of the orange wave had been picked up (Roelie was also picked up) and several other red wave swimmers. I was disappointed, but it made me feel less bad about being collected.

I decided to refuel with a few more Honey Stinger energy chews and some Osmo so that I would have enough energy to keep swimming. I was pleased that I wasn’t feeling too fatgiued. I hadn’t been sure of what my nutrition strategy should be, but everything I ate seemed to work well.

A decision then needed to be made about the final leg. I was determined to do my best to finish what I had started, but in the end, the decision was taken out of my hands. Some of the swimmers were close to hypothermia, the wind had become much stronger and the light was failing, so it was decided that it was not safe for us to try to finish the event.

Roelie and Tamsyn

I really need to work on my selfie skills!

Roelie, Tamsyn and Stuart

Selfie with Roelie and Stuart

I’m not sure that these pictures from the boat trip back show just how rough it was.

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When we got back, we then had the trek across the island. We had forgotten to bring a torch with us, but were able to enjoy the sunset.


In the evening when I got back, I showered and then slathered on some Flexiseq sport. I wasn’t sure whether it would work, but my muscles and joints were aching and I knew I needed to be ready to swim again in the morning.

Swim 6. Porth Conger, St Agnes to Porthcressa, St Mary’s (2.2 miles; 3.5k)

I had been looking forward to celebrating on Saturday night, but a good night’s sleep meant that I was ready to tackle the final swim. I wasn’t aching particularly, although my legs were very bruised and my neck was chafed – I’m taking the lack of weary muscles as being a sign that the Flexiseq worked. Roelie also felt prepared, but Stu’s arms were shot from his valiant effort the night before. As he has a torn calf muscle, he is unable to kick, so his entire swim had been arms only.

The morning briefing © Gordon Adair

Stuart accompanied Roelie and I on our walk to the other side of St. Mary’s. I had a much smaller bag than the day before as I knew I wouldn’t need multiple pairs of shoes or lots of nutrition. There was also a much smaller group of swimmers than the previous day; I noticed several of the slower swimmers had decided not to do the final leg.

We walked to the  quay at St. Mary’s and were loaded into a boat to go to St. Agnes. Stuart wasn’t able to come so he headed off towards the garrison to be able to watch the swimmers.

When we got to St Agnes, we put our warm clothes and bags onto the boat and got into our groups. As usual, the green wave was the last to leave

Waiting for the start of the final swim. I can be seen near the front of the group in a wetsuit with purple cuffs and ankles.

We were asked to try to stick together a group as much as possible. I went to the front of the group near to Beth French, in the hope that I would get a good start and would be able to stick with some of the other swimmers.

© Joanna Clegg

It wasn’t long before the majority of the group started pulling away from me. I saw two swimmers off to my left, so I decided to keep them in my sight and try to make my way towards then. Not long after, a kayaker pulled in front of us and pointed out that we were swimming as a 2, a solo (me), and another two with Beth and that we would be better off sticking together. This seemed logical to me, so we had to tired water until the other had caught up. We then set off again, but one woman decided to strike out on her own. A second swimmer and I tried to keep up but we couldn’t catch her. Unfortunately, this meant that we pulled away from the skins swimmers.

When we got into the most open part of the channel (where the Scillonian goes), it was again very choppy. I wasn’t really sure where I was aiming. I had been keeping an eye on the swimmer on my left, but I lost her in the swell. After a few minutes, I started to panic (if you’ve read any f my other blog posts about sea swimming, you’ll notice that this is a common theme – I really hate the feeling of loneliness when I out at sea). I knew I had to keep moving, but negative thoughts started to enter my mind and I was considering attracting the attention of a kayaker or a boat (although I couldn’t see them either). Just as I got to my most panicky, I spied the other swimmer who was now on my right. Her appearance was enough to calm me down a bitIMG_6293IMG_6295

A short while later, the two of us got to calmer water nearer to land. A kayaker gave us some instructions – I didn’t understand a word – and I set off with the other swimmer. It is so reassuring to know that there are other people around.

I could finally see Porthcressa beach in the distance. The sun was shining and the water was calmer and warmer. I knew it was quite a way off, but I started to feel much happier – the same feeling when you get to 23 miles in a marathon and you know you can do the last bit!

Stuart was up on the cliffs, so he took a lot of photos of the swimmers coming in.

We then got to a very seaweedy bit. The water is so clear by the Isles of Scilly, so I could easily see the bottom, even though it was very deep. This distracted me quite a lot as there was so much to look at. I saw lots of fish, a couple of jellyfish and some crabs :-)

After a while, I got through the seaweed bit, and then I got very cold. I wondered whether I had pushed myself too hard and I didn’t want to be removed for the water, but it was the coldest water I had encountered during the weekend. I decided to try to pick up the speed in the hope of warming up. I started kicking quite hard and making my strokes as long as possible.


Finally, I made it. I went to put my feet down… oops… the deceptively clear water meant it was still too deep. I swam a few more strokes and then stumbled onto the beach.


I went over for a hot drink, and another slice of cake and watched the last swimmers arrive. It had been a tough weekend, but I achieved a seemingly impossible goal.

Tamsyn and Bryony Lishman

Celebrating with Bryony at the end


I watched the last swimmers come in and then we headed off for some more food!

When I got back, I had a shower and used some more Flexiseq Sport.

In the evening, we went over to St Martins for the celebration event.

looking back towards St. Mary's

This shot was intended to give an impression of how far apart the islands are.

Karma at St Martin's

Arriving for the party

It was really nice to have a celebratory drink and some food with everyone who had taken part in the event, but to be honest, we were all so tired that we wanted to go home and go to sleep!



the harbour at St. Mary's

The harbour at St. Mary’s

So, that was the end of an amazing week. Below are some images that I took on the Scillonian on the way back from St Mary’s to Penzance.

Tamsyn and Stuart

Selfie with Stu

Land's End

Land’s End

St. Michael's Mount

St. Michael’s Mount



When we finally got back into the harbour, there were sailing boats everywhere. The wind that had plagued us for the week had finally gone and the boats were becalmed.



A video showing what it was like for the fast swimmers:

Write up on the event by Beth French:

Monday Morning Motivation: Alan Watts

7 Sep
What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?
Let’s suppose, I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, “we’re getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do”. So I always ask the question, “what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?”
Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way. Or another person says well, I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses. I said you want to teach in a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do?
When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it – you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much.
That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track.
See what we are doing, is we’re bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lifes we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it’s all retch, and no vomit it never gets there.
And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question:
What do I desire?

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