2022 Scilly Swim Challenge lowdown with Keri-Anne Payne
Just off the Cornish coast is a paradise of remote and stunning islands called the Isles of Scilly. Considered one of the biggest archipelagos on the planet, only five out of the 140 islands and inlets are inhabited.
An explorer’s dream, it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) renowned for its breathtaking scenery consisting of rocky coastline, crystal clear waters, and white sand beaches.
Earlier this month, the Scilly Swim Challenge took place for its 9th sell-out year. A one-of-a-kind event, participants swim from island to island while exploring the wild and unique location in either a one-day or two-day event.
Aside from its beautiful setting, one of the real draws of The Scilly Swim is its non-competitive nature. It is not a race but an opportunity for swimmers to get together and safely experience the island while completing a challenge.
The event encourages swimmers to stick together in pods throughout the course, which is safeguarded by safety kayaks in the water. The pods are separated into 3 different coloured groups. Red is the quickest, Orange is in between and Green is the slowest. Swimmers can change pods depending on how they rate their ability that day.
We’re proud to support this fantastic event by sponsoring the luggage boat.
This year, Olympic swimmer, open water expert and dryrobe® Ambassador Keri-Anne Payne took over our Instagram account to share how the event played out. Follow Keri-Anne’s journey on Instagram here.
2 Day Event (3rd & 4th September 2022)
The weekend kicked off with the 2 Day Event where swimmers can absorb the exciting atmosphere and spectacular setting at a more leisurely pace over a couple of days.
The first day was expected to start at St Mary’s and with a 2.9km swim to St Agnes and eventually end in Bryhr. However, 2022 saw some unexpected twists thanks to the unpredictable weather.
‘The event has to change every now and then because of the weather… Instead of doing a long 6k swim which was the first swim we were meant to be doing, we’re now adjusting now to do a 2-mile swim first of all…Everyone is in good spirits even though it is raining- but hey, we’re all going to get wet anyway!’
With the first swim complete, the conditions caused the race to change course, but everyone remained positive. Undeterred, swimmers dug deep in the choppy conditions but the weather was too extreme to safely keep the event on for the rest of the day.
The second day saw a complete turnaround in conditions, with glorious sunshine greeting the swimmers as they set out for their day of swimming. Keri-Anne noted that ‘so far today, it’s been a beauty!’
With three swims to complete, the waters were wonderfully clear but had a slightly chilly bite with sea temperatures at 14°C and 16°C.
After the first swim, Keri- Anne’s description of the sea illustrates just how spectacular an experience it is to swim between the islands ‘Just look at the colour of it, it is such an amazing swim out here!’
1 Day Event - (6th September 2022)
On Tuesday, the one-day event was set to take place. Starting in St Mary’s once again, swimmers planned to complete a loop of 6 swims between St. Agnes, Samson, Bryher Tresco, and St Martin’s - finally returning to St Mary’s.
However, the original route needed to be modified to fit the very high wind conditions - this was essential to ensure the safety of the swimmers. With the course re-directed, they swam a total of 4 great swims, absorbing the incredible and scenic views around St Marys.
With all events finished, the awesome weekend ended with a well-deserved post-swim party on Wednesday! There are no winners of the event, but this year participants were nominated for the ‘Friendliest Swimmer’ for their fun energy and approachable nature during the event. Congratulations to Alex Turner who took part in the 2 day event and Emma Watson from the 1 day event - both nominated by the crew, kayakers, and other swimmers.
Find out more about The Scilly Swim at scillyswimchallenge.co.uk