Bright smiles and brighter colors as swimmers take the plunge in the Kessock Ferry Swim

Bright smiles and brighter colors as swimmers take the plunge in the Kessock Ferry Swim
Bright smiles and brighter colors as swimmers take the plunge in the Kessock Ferry Swim

Swimmers braved the cold waters in their most colorful costumes as they attempted to cross the Moray Firth in this year’s Kessock Ferry Swim.

The route traces the famous Kessock Ferry, which transported people and supplies across the Moray Firth before the opening of the Kessock Bridge in 1982.

The three-quarter mile plough from South Kessock to North Kessock is one of the most stunning open water swims in the Highlands.

It is the second year of the event since it was revived in 2022 after almost 50 years, with many people donning colorful swim caps, creating a sea of ​​multi-colour.

Participants donned colorful caps for this year’s swim. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.

Back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, swimmers as young as eight used to brave the frigid waters with crowds of more than 1,000 people cheering on loved ones.

This year’s event attracted more than 250 participants who saw the challenge and could not help diving from ages 12 to 80 years old.

‘It’s a great community event’

Johannes Petersen, the event organizer, said: “It’s wonderful. We’ve got hundreds of spectators out at the pier and the best bit for me is we’ve got all ages.

“There are so many people in their 70s and 80s, who are reliving memories of when the last swim used to happen again on the heyday. It’s a great community event.”

Sandra Lea took on the challenge back in the 1955 aged 15. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.

As swimmers prepared to enter the water, a pipe band played to motivate them, while the weather was wet but stormy conditions managed to pass before the event.

Mr. Petersen was delighted with how many people turned out to participate as all funds go towards running the charity Aban.

He said: “We are a very small independent charity that receives no core funding, so we organize the event to enable us to run our weekly youth clubs in Merkinch, and our gold Duke of Edinburgh programme, so all proceeds from the event go towards that works.

Due to the recent warm weather in the area, Mr. Petersen says the water wasn’t as cold as it usually would be, which will come as some comfort to the brave swimmers.

Here are some of the best pictures from the 2023 Kessock Ferry Swim:

Swimmers congratulated each other on making it to the finish line. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
People braved the cold waters to take on the challenge. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Two swimmers made it to the other side of the Moray Firth. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Some people were out on kayaks to make sure the swimmers stayed on course. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Crowds gathered to watch the swim take place from Merkinch to North Kessock. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
A group of swimmers smile as they complete the challenge. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Swimmers made sure they were all set to make the crossing. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
While not the best weather it couldn’t dampen people’s smiles. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
The three-quarter mile swim is regarded as one of the most stunning in the Highlands. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Participants waited to take the plunge into the Moray Firth. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Many congratulated others on overcoming the unforgiving waters of the Moray Firth. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
The Kessock Swim follows the route of the Kessock Ferry which operated until 1982 before the Kessock Bridge was built. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Some people prefer to stay dry while cheering on their friends and loved ones. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Colorful costumes were on full display at this year’s swim. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.
Some swimmers were ecstatic to make it to the other side of the Moray Firth. Image: Paul Campbell/DC Thomson.

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