London swimmers complete Loch Ness relay

Image caption,
The team was made up of six swimmers and a seventh as back up

Six women have completed a swim-relay up the 23-mile length of Loch Ness ahead of schedule.

They set off from the Fort Augustus Abbey end of the loch at 0500 BST, and finished the relay in 13 hours and 23 minutes.

The members of London's Serpentine Swimming Club, who had tartan swim suits specially made for the challenge, had expected to take about 18 hours.

The group are raising money for a new hospital in Afghanistan.

The oldest swimmer in the group was 65.

There was also a seventh swimmer available as a back up.

Each swimmer was in the water for an hour before each changeover.

A lifeboat crew was on hand in case any of the swimmers got into difficulty.

Team captain Anne McAlpine said: "We had a very good run, the wind and weather conditions couldn't be better.

"Loch Ness is deeper and colder than the North Sea and it's twice as deep as the Channel.

"We would only do it if it was a challenge, but we also enjoy it.

"This is all about having fun as well as respecting the natural environment."

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