Round the island swimming race

Posted on 17th May 2018 | in Community

On May 24 (weather permitting) channel swimmer Frances Anderson from Amble, and marathon and ice swimmer Jane Hardy from Little Mill, will swim from Coquet Island to Amble Links to mark the start of the 2018 Puffin Festival.

Above: Round the island swimming competitions were held regularly last century.  Photo by John Young

Amble has a fascinating swimming history, with swimmers from Amble and Chevington Drift Swimming Clubs regularly competing in swimming galas at the Little Shore, and the round Coquet Island race in the early 1900s.

In 1917 there was a report of a swim to the island as “an unprecedented feat by two Amble Ladies”. This swim we believe inspired the club championship race. Other women followed and in 1923 the club championship was won for the first time by a woman – Georgina Rollo, when swimming was seen as a pursuit for boys and men. The original swim started at the Dolphin, out of the harbour and around the island and back. Jane and Frances are trying this initial swim to learn about the currents and potential routes with the intention of a full round island swim in the future.

This sort of swimming is not to be attempted without support. Frances and Jane are both experienced open water swimmers. Frances completed both solo English Channel and Gibraltar Strait swims. Jane has swum in shark infested waters on a Robben island swim,and competed in international ice swimming championships.

This is an ongoing research and swim project and they would welcome any photos memories and historical information relating to the swimming club and swims held in Amble. These can be emailed to

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