This the follow up to Jamie’s popular first post about his preparation for the Galloway Tri Challenge in aid of Cancer Research UK on the 27th of July 2013.
I have this thing now. I can’t look at a body of water without getting the urge to swim across it. Not to just go for a swim but to actually traverse bodies of water. I hope to cure this on Saturday.
This week has been about final preparations and reconnoitering the route. It had only existed on Google maps and in my own head until today. We will head through my home town of Stranraer and head out past the RAF station of West Freuch flirting briefly with the A75 before dropping down in to the Machars past stunning Stairhaven. It is a magical route with the sun glittering off an azure sea and a backdrop of rolling hills. On days like today this area competes with any tourism hot spot in the country. Those rolling hills however…as we climb from one headland to the next the legs are going to be less appreciative of the views.
The going gets easier but no less picturesque as we head inland through Whithorn and on to Garlieston before heading north to our swim start point.
Now the wind was around 10 mph today and in the shelter of Culscadden cove the water was positively inviting. As my gaze swept out to sea however the ominous breaking of whitecaps in the middle of Wigtown Bay and the sheer distance to the opposite coast stirred some considerable apprehension. Ach who am I kidding? It stirred fear. Its a long way. Its a long way ploughing, as I do when I swim, through the most powerful element at nature’s disposal; an arsenal of tide, currents and stinging creatures lie in wait. I am already retreating in to myself; visualising putting my feet down on sand surrounded by friendly faces, preparing myself by conjuring worst case scenarios in my head, planning how I would deal with them and most of all preparing myself to just keep swimming no matter what.
I also try and do the opposite. People swim far further than this. I’m well supported by friends in boats. The wind on Saturday is forecast to be only 7 mph. I’ll be fine, I’ll get my feet on to the sand, as long as I keep on swimming.
After the swim there is just the little matter of a 20 mile run. The first stretch has to negotiate the A75 again until a shimmy in to Anwoth begins what will be a dramatically scenic run. To get to the views we need to climb 650 feet out of Gatehouse to Laurieston Forest. After that it is pretty much downhill and a case of trying to enjoy the views and keep one foot going in front of the other.
I’m always glad to arrive at Stewartry rugby club but suspect I will never have been so glad as on Saturday evening.
I only hope I have enough energy left to enjoy what’s left of Dougie Day!
If you would like to come and cheer us on approximate timings are below:
Wigtownshire RFC, Stranraer 8:30am – 9:00am
Hanover St, Stranraer 9:15am
Auchenlarie Holiday Park 3:30pm
Gatehouse of Fleet 4:40pm
Stewartry RFC, Castle Douglas 6:45pm
You can keep up to date with Jamie’s Galloway Tri Challenge on his Facebook Page