Swimming From Spring To September In Scilly

Courtesy of WOWSA, St. Mary’s, Isles of Scilly.

The Scilly Swim Challenge is a series of island-to-island open water swims held in the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England.

Mark Richards described his experience, “A huge well done to all of the amazing crew who I swam with on the Scilly Spring Challenge.

[It included] 15 km of swimming and about 10 km of walking with 20 like-minded (i.e slightly loopy) and very fabulous characters.

This is a stunning place and I highly recommend this event to adventurous types everywhere. The world class support crew guide you safely through the most amazing journey. We were so lucky to experience it. Memories to last a lifetime include the cold, smooth water, superhero skins swimmers, huge camaraderie, positivity and bravery of those outside of their comfort zone, and the sulphur smell of rotting seaweed on Samson.”

He also created the artwork awarded at the event.  His company, Mark Richards Wave Art, creates similar awards for the Scilly 360 Swim, part of the growing Scilly Swim Challenge created by Dewi Winkle, a Yorkshireman, and Nick Lishman, a Scillonian.

Winkle and Lishman [on left] started out serving the open water swimming community as swim guides in Isles of Scilly, but they have expanded the Scilly Swim Challenge in St. Mary’s that is currently bringing over 1000 swimmers to the islands.

St Mary’s is the largest island of the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago off the southwest coast of Cornwall.  Winkle explains, “The open water swimming events are held in the cold sea amid the backdrop of the beautiful islands and frequently changing, challenging conditions.

The main focus of the Challenge events is on a non-competitive swim journey as a group from one island to another in varied open water conditions. The goal of the non-race is to get everyone around the course with expert safety cover in place.”

Lishman describes the events.  “The One Day Scilly Swim Challenge is a 15 km 6-stage swim over 1 day held in September.  The Two Day Scilly Swim Challenge is a 15 km 6-stage swim held over 2 days held in September, a slightly more leisurely version of the one-day event.  The Spring Scilly Swim Challenge is a 1-day journey, set with an extra element to the challenge in the cold sea of spring.  We also conduct the Kvarner Swim Challenge, a 20+ km open water swim from Cres island to the Kvarner mainland over 2 days in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia.  

We just added the Scilly 360, a 4-stage swim circumnavigation of St Mary’s for solo swimmers or teams of 2 or 3 or 4 swimmers.”

The Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast are fringed by sandy beaches that offers a number of wild swim opportunities and swimming holidays by SwimTrek.

The Scilly Swim Challenge offers the unique award created by Mark Richards that takes its place among the other unusually creative awards in the open water swimming world:

* Belt buckles at the SCAR Swim Challenge in Arizona, USA
* Conch trophies at the Race For The Conch Eco-SeaSwim in Turks & Caicos
* Walking sticks and woodals at the Kingdom Swim in Vermont
* Paper crown for Ice Kilometers swimmers at the International Ice Swimmiing Association Ireland National Championships
* Triple Crowners (English Channel + Catalina Channel + Around Manhattan Island)
* MSF Spork + MSF Navigator Award from the Marathon Swimmers Federation
* Cherrywood plaque for South End Rowing Club members for their North Channel crossing
* H20PLAY Swim Series winners
* 2-way North Channel relay from Northern Ireland to Scotland and back to Northern Ireland
* Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H2O Swim finishers on Oahu
* Finishers of the Nevis to St. Kitts Cross-Channel Swim:
* English Channel award for Shubham Vanmali
* Unique fish awards at the Los Cabos Open Water Challenge
* Rhinoceros trophy for the 8 Mile Charity Club at the Midmar Mile
* North Channel crossing by the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association
* Gaston Memorial Swim awards

For more information, visit here for the Scilly Swim Challenge.

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