A 43-YEAR-OLD South African is hoping to make waves by becoming the first person ever to successfully swim between the Mull of Kintyre and the north Antrim coastline in an effort to raise money for the Community Rescue Service.
If successful Wayne Soutter, who now lives and works in London, will be the first person to complete the gruelling 10.5 mile swim.
Many endurance swimmers have tried unsuccessfully to conquer the North Channel route which is arguably one of the most dangerous and volatile stretches of water in the world.
However the dad of two, who heads up a computer software company, has been testing his stamina to the limits with a hectic training schedule and has just returned from the south of France following an intense programme.
On a visit to north Antrim, he completed a one hour swim just off Torr Head to gauge currents and test his resilience to searing jelly fish stings.
Wayne said: “It was as expected, fairly cold but working hard enough you managed to keep warm, So it warmed up quite quickly.
“What was a little unexpected was the huge number of jelly fish I saw, about one jellyfish every minute. Now and again some of them were closer to the surface and I had to swim around them.
“The water was good for a fairly calm day, but sometimes we got into a bit of rough water and that made hard work of it. Overall it was good - I’m encouraged.”
Back in 2010, Wayne was the 813th person to swim across the channel, raising £3,000 for Sparrow Schools Educational Trust in South Africa and he now hopes to raise £5,000 for local Community Rescue Services.
He explained: “I wanted to make a difference socially and face a personal challenge at the same time. I found the solution in my decision to swim the English Channel and raise funds for Sparrow Schools Educational Trust by obtaining sponsorship for the swim online.
“This was an incredible plan as I’m not a professional swimmer, in fact I’m not even a very strong swimmer, and swimming slowly makes the Channel swim more difficult. I don’t have any experience in endurance events either.
Hoping to take on the swim from the Mull of Kintyre over the Lammas Fair weekend, Wayne added: “There is only a small window of opportunity in which the swim can be made, and because of this, there is complex tidal data to take into consideration, missing the window could result in me having to swim against the powerful current and call off the 10.5m swim.
“The planned date for the swim is the August 26, which is over the Lammas Fair during which time, if the weather and condition are right, the swim will commence.
“If the initial swim date is missed I have two further dates planned, 10th and 25th September. The temperature of the water between the Mull of Kintyre and Torr Head is about 4/5 degrees cooler than that of the channel making this a herculean task worth supporting. So please dig deep for my charity and, if possible, come along and support me on the day.”