High March School


School News

Crossing the North Channel


At the start of the summer holidays, on Thursday 13th July, Mrs McAlister, High March swimming and triathlon coach, was part of a relay team aiming to swim the North Channel, from Dohaghadee (Northern Ireland) to Portpatrick (Scotland). Mrs McAlister describes the North Channel as, “….never easy. It’s cold, conditions can be changeable and there are loads of stinging jellyfish.” Sharks are also a possibility but Mrs McAlister was pleased to report that she did not see any, unlike a team on another boat who, on the very same day, did come across some Thresher Sharks. This particular team was unable to complete the crossing although this was not due to the presence of sharks!

When crossing the North Channel, no wetsuits are allowed despite the water temperature being between just 11C and 13C (!), and relay teams swim for an hour each in rotation. Mrs McAlister’s team took 11hrs and 28min to cross and each member swam twice. Mrs McAlister was very happy with the conditions for her first swim but, by the time of her second swim, the swell had really increased and the swim was rough. To quote Mrs McAlister, “There were times when I was on a wave and looking down on the boat beside me!”  Mrs McAlister swam over and round plenty of jellyfish but, luckily, did not get stung.

The magical moment was finishing the swim on Portpatrick beach; this is actually quite rare as it is an exceptionally tiny beach and the swimmers are therefore reliant on the skill of the boat pilot who must be able to cope with the conditions, tides and speed of the swimmers. No mean feat!

Congratulations to Mrs McAlister from the whole High March community!  What a fantastic achievement!


Categorised in: