The Forshaw Group takes the plunge to raise funds for charity

Over the August bank holiday weekend, team members of The Forshaw Group undertook The Great Glen Swim Challenge 2020. Totalling a colossal nearly 50 miles of swimming across Scotland over three days, the event was held by Tri-4-Life as part of its 20-year anniversary celebrations.

Formed in 2000 by The Forshaw Group’s director, Liam Hanlon and his family, Tri-4-Life organises sporting events in remembrance and friendship, promoting healthy living and lifestyle, and raising essential funds for charities across the world.

The Forshaw Group team had been planning to swim the North Channel, from Scotland to Ireland. However, due to COVID-19 and social distancing measures this was not possible, so the team devised The Great Glen Swim Challenge to still achieve this event around the same theme.

This was a self-funded charity event by the team, with the money raised going to a number of charities, including the Paul Lavelle Foundation and the Lady Freda social enterprise project. This is a community initiative founded by Donald Mcphater in Fort William to use the converted retired fishing trawler, Lady Freda, to engage with the community in support of mental health and addiction issues. The boat is also used as a floating base for various outdoor and swimming activities within the Great Glen lochs and canal area.

Commencing at Loch Linnhe, the first swim of The Forshaw Group’s Great Glen Swim Challenge on Friday 28 August consisted of 10 miles, from Corpach to Corran. A further 10 miles was swum in Loch Locky on Saturday 29 August, followed by a five-mile swim at Loch Oich. The team then enjoyed a well-deserved rest in the cabins aboard the Lady Freda.

On the final day (Sunday 30th August), an amazing 23 miles was swum in Loch Ness, with most participants swimming two breadths of the loch. All swimmers started together in their designated swimming teams or PODS, changing in two-mile (one hour) intervals. The more experienced swimmers swam a 10-mile leg of the relay, whilst the others swam a combination of distances, down to the final ‘have-a-go’ half milers.

Shore support and transport shadowed each of the swims, awaiting at designated extraction points, although thankfully all of the swims were successfully completed without incident.

The Great Glen Swim Challenge was undertaken as one of many training events planned by The Forshaw Group, as it is hoped that, with the right preparation and progression with training, the team will attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Everest in 2023.

Liam Hanlon, director at The Forshaw Group and participant in The Great Glen Swim Challenge 2020, said; “The physical, mental and emotional benefits of cold, open water swimming are well documented and the event was a huge success. It brought a team of 28 men and woman of all ages – from 20 to 75 – and of all abilities together, to complete the challenge over three days.

“The Great Glen Swim Challenge has helped The Forshaw Group raise over £500 to date. The support from the local community, including the safety boat crews and shore support, was exceptional, as was the achievements of the Tri-4-Life team.

“Over the past 20 years we have taken part in bespoke community challenges all over the world and have helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity. We are involved in community or charity events at least once per month, and our next challenge is the Cycle 300 for Cancer Research UK on Friday 4th September.”

The Forshaw Group is a property restoration specialist, working closely with insurance companies and loss adjusters to renovate commercial and residential property damaged by fire or flood.

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