Saturday 8 September dawned clear and relatively calm much to the relief of some 60 swimmers who were taking part in the annual Cumbrae to Largs Swim in Aid of Gillian’s Saltire Appeal. Now in its 13th year the event has grown from the original band of 8 who were led by John Burleigh in 2006, to include swimmers who are both local and far travelled. The field comprised a mixture of previous entrants and those taking part for the first time and ranged in age from 12 years to more mature swimmers. 
This year’s results proved a double first as the fastest swimmer home was a junior and also female. Well done to Rachael Grant, 14, who crossed from Cumbrae Watersports to Largs Marina in just over 35 minutes. It was a good day for the girls as second place went to Eilidh Love in 41 minutes. Gerard Malone managed to take 3rd place , just ahead of Arlene Lewis , to prevent the ladies from getting a clean sweep. For some of the swimmers it is about trying to get a fast time but for many this event is about the achievement of doing something that is outside their comfort zone. Even for experienced pool swimmers the thought of putting on a wetsuit, swimming in salt water, with waves, jellyfish & even the odd porpoise can be a massive challenge. The swimmers all however take on this challenge admirably to support Gillian’s Saltire Appeal, the local charity which provides short breaks by the sea to cancer sufferers, their families and carers in their two properties based in Largs and Millport.
The event organisers would like to express their thanks to Largs Sailing Club, Largs Yacht Haven & Cumbrae Watersports Centre for facilities & safety boats, to McGill’s buses & CalMac for transport, to Lomo Watersports for swim caps, to MacMillan Motors & Lomo for finish flags, to the volunteer kayakers who paddle alongside the swimmers ad to the shore based volunteers assisting with the event. The biggest thanks however must be to the swimmers and their sponsors who make this event so worthwhile.
Photos and video footage from the event will be posted to the facebook page Cumbrae to Largs Swim in aid of Gillian’s Saltire Appeal. Charity:
A delighted Rachael said: "It was quite cold at the start and was around 14 degrees, and it wasn't an easy start with the seaweed, and then a speedboat went past too, but I soon managed to build up a good speed and finished first by around 500m so I was quite happy with that."
Photos kindly provided by Ryan Scott Photography.