Goggleblog’s Chris Price talks to ‘the middle brother’ Calum Hudson (above middle) about the adventure which sees the trio relive their youth, swimming in Cumbria’s River Eden.
GB: Tell us about the swim. Why are you doing it?
It’s me and my little brother Jack, who’s 23, and my older brother Robbie who is 28 (I’m 25). We’re basically swimming our childhood river in Cumbria near Penrith where we grew up with the river at the bottom of our garden.
We recently sold our family home and we wanted to do something to represent leaving Cumbria so we decided to swim the river. We discovered no one had done it before and thought it would be a cracking challenge.
GB: Did you do much research about the river when you were planning the challenge?
Our Dad’s a geographer teacher so we did things the old school way and got out a lot of maps to plan the route. We also asked questions on The Outdoor Society’s Facebook page which was really useful as well as on the Cumbrian Outdoor Swimming Group.
People do amazing things all over the world and go to all these exotic locations, but for an average kid it’s hard to associate those places with their lives so we wanted to do something really grassroots so people could hear about us and say ‘you know what, I’m going to swim in my local river’ rather than hurling themselves off some iceberg somewhere.
GB: How long do you think it will take and what will it be like swimming that distance?
Fingers crossed all going well it will take us around nine days, swimming 10 miles a day with camping along the way. We’re going to look to do some of the swim in Speedos and some in wetsuits because we’ll be in the water a long time.
Part of the problem with the Eden is that it’s not a quick river. With a quick river you can really hurtle down it. There are some sections that we are going to have to scramble across rocks so we’re probably looking at 5 to 6 hours a day in the water which is quite a long time with water temperature of around 16 degrees.
GB: What’s the biggest risk you will face do you think?
Unless we come across a rabid otter or something I think the biggest danger is going to be logs and driftwood coming down the river. Other than that it’s not particularly hazardous. There is a nine metre waterfall to watch out for though!
Most of the swim isn’t tidal apart from the last couple of miles that opens up into the Solway Firth which is big tidal mudflap so that’s really the most dangerous part of the swim. As long as we get the timing right, which is basically early afternoon, there shouldn’t be any issues. We know the middle 50 miles quite well from when we were kids – it’s just the start and the end we aren’t so familiar with.
GB: Did you need to ask permission to swim some part of The Eden?
We’ve talked to the local angling association and they’ve OK’d the swim and we’ve also had to get permission from local landowners too. I was initially nervous about that but they’ve been really positive and even offered us free lunches along the way – promising to chuck bacon sandwiches at us from the side of the bank. We’ve had a load people donate food or bits of kit too which has been awesome.
Pictured above: The boys recently became the first brothers to swim the infamous Corryvreckan whirlpool. The Corryvreckan is the 3rd largest whirlpool in the world and is a swirling vortex between Jura and Scarba off Scotland.
GB: What equipment are you using for the swim?
The main bits of kit are the tow floats which can be tied to our ankles. I wouldn’t normally use one but because we need to carry the rations for the day, including food and water, as well as a phone in case of emergency we have to use them. Luckily Chill Swim have donated a load of tow floats and dry bags so we can put the kit in.
For all the heavier kit, including the tent, our Dad will pick that up in the morning and drop it off at the next stop.
GB: Why did you choose Swimming Trust as the charity?
We originally weren’t going to do it for charity, but decided that the swim was a good platform to raise money. Swimming Trust is basically a charity that teaches kids from both rural and disadvantaged backgrounds to swim. We didn’t want to do it for a big multi-national charity or one that gets loads of sponsorship and so thought we’d pick something more niche.
GB: How is the training going?
It’s going really well. One of the biggest challenges I have though is how to get both fit and fat at the same time in order to cope with the low water temperatures. I’m eating tonnes of food but also obviously trying to keep the endurance up which is a bit weird!
For more information about the swim you can visit the boys’ Facebook page here.
You can donate to the cause on the boys’ Virgin Money Giving page here
You can see Calum on London Live here or in this YouTube video below: