Woman endures icy waters to swim Loch Ness

By Katherine Sutherland
BBC Scotland reporter

image copyrightHelen Beveridge
image captionHelen Beveridge swam for 18 hours from one end of the loch to the other

A 48-year-old mother-of-three has become one of the few people to swim the length of Loch Ness.

Helen Beveridge said her skin turned blue during the 18-hour swim, which she finished at midnight on Monday.

She wore a bathing costume with no thermal protection to complete the 22.5-mile (36 kilometres) route.

She is one of only 16 people to complete the swim using British Long Distance Swimming Association rules.

At 750ft (228 metres) deep, Loch Ness is the largest body of fresh water in the UK. Mrs Beveridge swam its length in 18 hours and 22 minutes.

'Shoulders were blue'

She said: "I wore a swimsuit, swimming hat and goggles. I put a little bit of vaseline on my neck to stop the swimsuit chafing.

"I felt very small in a big landscape. I had a support boat beside me most of the time. But you are aware of being small.

"I felt cold most of the way. The big challenge for me was the cold.

"The guys on the boat who were monitoring my stroke rate told me that my shoulders were blue. And my elbows were blue at one point."

She said the water temperatures was "reasonable", measuring 12.1 degrees centigrade when she started and 14 degrees when she finished her swim.

image copyrightHelen Beveridge
image captionShe emerged from the water at Lochend beach at 23:59 on Monday night

However, she said she was still shivering when she finally emerged on Lochend beach at the north west end of the loch, one minute before midnight.

Mrs Beveridge, who works as an environmental manager for a construction company has three children aged 15, 14 and 12.

She said: "It was a long time to finish it so you just think about work or the kids.

"They think I'm quite crazy but I think they are quite proud of me as well."

Asked about the Loch Ness monster, she admitted: "You always think you see something out of the corner of your eye."

Mrs Beveridge started the swim at Fort Augustus at 05:47 on Monday, finishing at 11.59 at Lochend the same day.

She raised £1,800 for the Highland Hospice, a charity based in Inverness.

image copyrightThinkstock
image captionLoch Ness measures 23 miles long and is 750ft deep

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