An ‘average swimmer’ from Louth has dodged strong currents and blinding sea mists to complete a gruelling swim across the mouth of the Humber estuary.
Matt Clarke, 47, endured the seven-mile swim from Spurn point to Cleethorpes beach - a challenge he described as both physical and mental - and raised £320 for the Parkinsons UK charity in the process..
Matt previously completed the shorter Humber swim and a Thames swim, but said this was ‘an ambitious step for an average swimmer’ like him.
“Those events gave me the confidence to think I had it in me to take on the Humber estuary and everything tidal waters and a busy shipping channel might present to me,” he said.
He enlisted the help of the ‘Humber King’ Pete Winchester MBE, who has taken on the estuary swim 70 times. Pete and his boat crew provided guidance along the swim.
The first 40 minutes were ‘a doddle’ according to Matt, until, in his own words, ‘Mother Nature had another idea’.
“The tide was about to turn, and it almost scuppered my attempt with a vicious five knot beast,” he said.
Such was the difficulty of swimming against the tide that Pete and the boat crew were genuinely concerned that Matt would not complete the swim.
“For the next 30 minutes I swam harder than I have ever swum in my life - but I barely moved,” said Matt.
He finally reached a point where he could swim with the tide - and finally made it to the shore at a time of four hours two minutes.