Swimmer battles currents, jellyfish

Aug. 28, 2012 at 9:22 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A businessman says he was sometimes "scared" as he battled strong currents and jellyfish during a 12-hour swim from Scotland to Northern Ireland.

Wayne Soutter, 43, became the first person to make the 10 1/2-mile trip across the North Channel of the Irish Sea from the Mull of Kintyre to County Antrim when he came ashore late Sunday, miles from his intended destination, The Scotsman reported. Thirteen people have swum from Scotland to Northern Ireland by a longer, 21-mile route with less difficult currents.

"There were definitely times when I was scared for my life," he said. "I was extremely tired -- it was pitch dark, and at times I was drifting a bit further away from the boats."

Soutter, originally from South Africa, owns a computer firm in southern England. He swam the English Channel two years ago.

The tides and currents were not the only hazard. Soutter said he encountered huge "pockets" of jellyfish.

"Eventually, I had to put my head down and swim through them -- there was no other way," he said. "I got stung a lot down my arms, my chest and in my mouth."

Soutter spent 12 hours and 21 minutes in the water, landing at Kenbane Head on the Antrim coast at 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

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