Gordy endures 10 and a half hours of high swells in North Channel swim

Gordon Hamill
Gordon Hamill

High swells and heavy choppy waters thwarted Gordy Hamill’s aim for Scotland across the North Channel but he raised a whopping £5k for charity.

The 44-year-old Lurgan man swam 31 kilometres during 10 and a half hours of vicious conditions on Tuesday.

Gordy said: “The pilot said most other days he was confident I would have made it but the forecast of one hour swell at the start turned into a a 6hr 30 swell.”

The Donaghadee Chunky Dunkers said they hadn’t seen as rough a start in years. Gordy said: “All forecasts said this was to die down after an hour so we took the chance to avail of good tides. But unfortunately the swells and heavy chop prevailed for six and a half hours.

“This made breathing difficult and I was swallowing lots of sea water and vomiting in the water after six hours,” he said.

Gordy, who swim across Lough Neagh twice in some of the most difficult of conditions said: “Swallowing Lough Neagh water is fine. When you get slowed down in North Channel it’s around 12 degrees and you just get colder and slower, slower and colder.

“It’s a vicious, cold circle: I set 3 personal bests in the first six hours in the choppy conditions but unfortunately this ate into my energy reserves and we missed a vital tidal window,” he added.

Gordy was offered another slot in two weeks time but decided not to put his family through the worry again.

“I enjoyed the journey and I gave it my best shot,” said Gordy who has raised £5k in aid of the Southern Area Hospice in Newry.

Gordy said: “I have been moved to tears many many times by the generosity of friends and strangers alike.”

His journey to swim the North Channel began 11 years ago when he lost hs cousin, Paul O’Hagan to depression in Australia.

“He was a beautiful person loved by all who met him. I recognised that i at times could have been in the same boat.

“So I ran the Dublin Marathon in honour of Paul for the Samaritans which has led me down this amazing road.

“I also know that the spirit of my aunt Viv who fought for so long and so hard against cancer before it took her also drove me on.

“Never give in to depression, my friends, talk to people, open up and fight.

“You will be amazed at the amount of beautiful people who will help your fight in whatever way you choose to fight it.”

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