Swimmers and kayakers will cross four countries in 24 hours in aid of GNAAS


A TEAM of swimmers and kayakers will take to the water across four countries in 24 hours to raise money for Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS). Cumbria Open Water Swimmers, known as The Mad Cows, will race against the clock and swim or kayak four kilometers across four lakes in water up to 25m deep on June 20.  The twenty strong team, which includes two kayakers, will begin their challenge at midnight at Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland.

A TEAM of swimmers and kayakers will take to the water across four countries in 24 hours to raise money for Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

Cumbria Open Water Swimmers, known as The Mad Cows, will race against the clock and swim or kayak four kilometers across four lakes in water up to 25m deep on June 20. 

The twenty strong team, which includes two kayakers, will begin their challenge at midnight at Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland. After completing the first leg, they will catch a ferry to Cairnryan in south west Scotland for the next swim in Loch Ken.

Without a break, the team will then head to Ullswater in the Lake District, before finally ending their challenge in Bala Lake, the largest natural body of water in Wales.

Graeme Sutton, 56, of Carlisle, said: “The swimmers are great, but we couldn’t do this without the vital support of the kayakers and the drivers who are taking us all over Britain.

“We wanted to do a challenge that was a little different and this hasn’t been done before. I’m excited about the challenge but also for the warm bacon butties after.”

Mr Sutton said the group wanted to support GNAAS as they often saw the charity’s green and white aircraft overhead.

He added: “Although there are many other brilliant charities out there, as open water swimmers we rely on the air ambulance the most. It really is a lifeline to those in rural areas.”

Robie Robes, a family-based company are sponsoring The Mad Cows, with air ambulance services a cause close to owner Martyn Tarplee’s heart. Mr Tarplee’s younger sister Jessica suffered spinal injuries in a horse riding accident 10 years ago during dangerously thick fog. Despite the challenging conditions, an air ambulance crew still made the effort to rescue her.

Mr Tarplee said: “It’s just an absolutely brilliant service especially when you realise they are entirely reliant on donations. It doesn’t matter what part of the country, the helicopters and the paramedics do a brilliant job. When I saw who they were raising money for I wanted to get involved straight away. If everyone gets involved, even if it’s not a huge amount it will make a huge difference.”

Mr Tarplee’s firm will provide robes for the participants to dry off in after each stage.

If you would like to donate to the team you can visit their fundraising page by clicking here.

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