Daring charity swim to cross Belfast shipping lane

Councillor Pete Johnston, Mark Loughridge, Bobbie Philips, Anthony Bannon, Michael Nugent and David McConnell are taking the cross-lough challenge.
Councillor Pete Johnston, Mark Loughridge, Bobbie Philips, Anthony Bannon, Michael Nugent and David McConnell are taking the cross-lough challenge.

A Carrick councillor and five fellow swimming enthusiasts are to undertake a daring cross-lough charity challenge next week.

Cllr Peter Johnston and his colleagues will step off dry land at Grey’s Point at 5.30pm on Friday, July 26, and swim across Belfast Lough to the shore next to Carrickfergus Castle.

They will cover approximately of 3.75 nautical miles (7kms) in the gruelling swim across the main shipping lane to Belfast.

Mr Johnston, Mark Loughridge, Bobbie Philips, Anthony Bannon, Michael Nugent and David McConnell are all experienced swimmers having competed in a variety of triathlons and events. They will be supported by two vessels from Carrick-based Belfast Lough Sailability (BLS).

Organiser Gary Davison, who was behind the recent Carrickfergus Castle Triathlon, said: “This has been planned for a number of months and had to be risk assessed and passed by the Belfast Harbour Commission, due to the swim crossing the main shipping lane into Belfast.

“On the same evening and starting at 7pm, an aquathlon will start from Fisherman’s Quay. This has been planned to tie in with the Belfast Lough swim. This consists of a 750m swim along the front from Fisherman’s Quay to the castle, followed by a 5km run around the promenade. It is hoped that the aquathlon will be finished in time for everyone to cheer the six swimmers doing the Belfast Lough swim.”

The events are to raise money for a children’s home in Kolkata, India; Children’s Cancer Fund for Northern Ireland and BLS.