On the scale of epic feats of endurance, a long distance swim ranks right near the top. Such a challenge is both physically and mentally demanding, while also creating an intense sense of isolation for the swimmer, who often spends hours alone in the water. Those are the conditions that adventurer Ripley Davenport will face later this year when he will attempt to become the first person to swim completely around Ireland.
Davenport, who previously has focused his attention on long-distance treks through various deserts, has just launched the website for his Round Ireland Swim. Scheduled to take place later this year, the swim will begin in the town of Derrynane, where he’ll plunge into the Atlantic Ocean and begin moving in a clockwise direction around the country. He’ll first travel north across the top of Ireland, passing through the Northern Channel in the process. From there, Ripley will turn south into the Irish Sea, before crossing both the Saint George and Celtic Channels. Eventually he’ll return to the Atlantic Ocean, where he’ll then turn north once more as he sets his sights on the finish line back in Derrynane. If successful, Davenport will cover more than 850 miles during his long distance aquatic adventure, which is essentially the equivalent of swimming from London to Rome.
In order to protect himself from the cold waters he’ll be immersed in, Ripley will wear a wetsuit for the entirety of the swim. While in the water swimming, a sea kayak containing one of his support crew will also follow close by the entire time, ready to lend a hand should the need arise. Davenport will also be shadowed by a support yacht that will allow him to rest, eat and gather his strength while not in the water. In order to ensure that he covers the full distance of the swim, his starting and ending position will be carefully recorded by GPS each day, leaving no doubt as to whether or not he completes the full circumnavigation.
Ripley will be undertaking this challenge to raise funds and awareness for MS Ireland, an organization that supports those who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that attacks the central nervous system. Davenport was diagnosed with MS back in 2011, but he hasn’t allowed the disease to stop him from pursuing his ambitious and adventurous goals.
In May of this year, Ripley will attempt a 30-mile open water swim that will serve as a test for the bigger challenge to follow. If all goes well, soon there after he’ll begin the actual swim around Ireland.