WALNEY ISLAND SWIM 1950
far as it is known, Arthur May, a pipe fitter from Dartford in Kent was the
first person to swim around Walney Island, a feat that he achieved on the 1st
39 year old marathon swimmer planned to swim anticlockwise around the island and
he entered the water at 6.15 a.m. His swim was remarkable in so much as he was
unescorted because he maintained that he could swim in places where boats could
not go. What refreshments he had with him were towed behind him on a home made
float but the contraption came to pieces half way round the island. May made
good going until he reached Scarth 'Channel' Gap
at the north of the island where he met as many as five currents that almost
took him to Millom. Near the wreck of the “Anastasia”
May was forced to swim in a wide semi-circle where he had to master six currents
a rough wind and heavy rolling. May maintained that this area was extremely
dangerous for swimmers.
When he reached Sandy Gap, after being in
the water seven and a quarter hours, he was joined by the local swimming
sensation 16 year old Doris Fell who for the last sixteen or so miles swam
Off Thorny Nook and as far down as Hilpsford
Buoy the swimmers had a rough time but from Hilpsford they had the swell behind
them and the advantage of the flowing tide.
Keeper Fred Swarbrick and his daughter Ella rowed out to meet the swimmers and
refreshed them with hot coffee and chocolate.
couple swam steadily under the
had a great desire to swim the
August 2001, fifty one years after May’s record breaking swim around Walney,
Chris Green of
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