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Adventurer Ross Edgley first to swim around Britain


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Ross Edgley

(BBC) — An adventurer from Grantham has become the first person to swim 1,780-miles around Great Britain.

Ross Edgley, 33, was joined by 300 swimmers for the last mile before he arrived in Margate at about 09:00 GMT.

Edgley left the Kent town on 1 June, and has not set foot on land since, swimming for up to 12 hours a day and eating more than 500 bananas.

He has battled strong tides and currents in cold water, braved storms, jellyfish and swimming in late autumn.

The effort has taken its toll on his body, resulting in shoulder pain, wetsuit chafing and his tongue has partially disintegrated from salt water exposure.

Back on dry land, Edgley told the BBC that despite needing to learn to walk again after so long in the water he is still “not quite bored of swimming” and looking for his next challenge.

Supported in his swim by Cornish sailor Matthew Knight from his catamaran Hecate, Edgley revealed that at times the tides helped him to swim at speeds of up to 8.7 knots.

“That’s a dolphin’s cruising speed,” he laughed.

The swimmer held back tears as scores of supporters who had turned out to greet him in Margate gave him a rousing cheer.

He said getting that kind of reception made it all worthwhile, adding: “There’s not many places you come in and people are asking you to sign bananas.”

Edgley set a new record 74 days into his challenge, for the longest staged sea swim, according to the World Open Water Swimming Association.

He is already in the Guinness Book of World Records after completing a rope climb the equivalent height of Mount Everest in 19 hours in April 2016.

That was two months after doing a marathon while pulling a car.

But an attempt in 2017 to swim the 24.8 miles between Martinique and St Lucia while pulling a 100lb tree trunk ended in disappointment.

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