Hundreds of people lined Margate seafront this morning (November 4) to watch adventurer Ross Edgley become the first man in history to swim 2,000 miles around Great Britain.
To mark the special occasion, in partnership with the Outdoor Swimming Society, more than 300 swimmers swum alongside Ross for the final stretch of his incredible journey.
Ross, who began his swimming feat from Margate in June, took 157 days to complete the Great British Swim. Storm Callum, Storm Ali, hundreds of jellyfish stings and a disintegrating tongue caused by salt water could not stop his efforts.
Ross, 33, reached the finish line this morning, setting foot on dry land for the first time in more than five months.
His arrival was accompanied with a display by Red Bull planes.
The final leg of the swim was supported the RNLI who had their boats alongside Ross. Other local small boats also took to the waves.
As Ross completed his historic swim and stood up in the water to walk to shore the crowd erupted into a frenzy of excitement, with cheers and screams of pride for the man whose solo swim of 2,000 mile was complete.
Ross was sustained through his journey by his favourite food bananas. He was greeted by children stood with inflatable bananas on the beach!
The Isle of Thanet News photographer John Horton was at the scene. He said: “There was much laughter and good spirits, His proud mum was there to congratulate Ross and it was clearly an emotional moment for him with his family and everyone present.
“The Red Bull Display team flew overhead and with smoke trails formed a heart to the delight of all onlookers. It was a fantastic, emotional, and very moving moment for all today and there was great pride for the town of Margate which again gets the stamp of approval and a place on the map
Ross said: “I almost fell over when I started to jog into shore. Setting out, I knew the Great British Swim would be the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted. I was very naïve at the start, and there were moments where I really did begin to question myself.
“My feelings now are pride, tiredness and relief. It’s been a team effort and it’s thanks to the whole crew, the support I’ve received from the public and Red Bull that I’ve been able to complete it. To see so many smiling faces here today is amazing, and if I can take one thing away, it’s that I’ve inspired people, no matter how small that inspiration may be.”
Ross has broken a number of records since the Great British Swim began. In mid-August he broke the world record for the Longest Staged Sea Swim of 73 days, set by Benoît Lecomte who swam across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998.
Then in September, he became the first ever Britain to swim from Lands’ End to John O’Groats (900 miles) in just 62 days. Now he becomes the first person in history to have swam around the entire coastline of mainland Great Britain.
GREAT BRITISH SWIM FACT FILE
• 0 sick days
• 2,000 miles swam (equivalent of swimming The Channel 100 times and 64,373 lengths of an Olympic sized swimming pool)
• London to Moscow is 1,796 miles
• 23 weeks at sea
• 18.1 nautical miles – longest swim in a single tide
• 8.7 knots – top swim speed
• 1,884,000 calories consumed (equivalent of 3,346 Big Macs)
• 314 Red Bulls drank
• Wild life spots – 1 Minke Whale, 1 Basking Shark, a pod of dolphins, 30 seals, a colony of puffins, 6 sea otters and 2 eagles
• Five rolls of gaffer tape used to fix broken skin
• Three kilograms of Vaseline for chaffing
• 37 jellyfish stings
• One freshly grown beard to try prevent more jellyfish stings
Report Kathy Bailes and John Horton