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Stung by jellyfish, Royal Free consultant swims from Ireland to Scotland

Medic becomes the 53rd swimmer to complete challenge

03 August, 2018 — By Tom Foot

A CONSULTANT at the Royal Free Hospital has completed one of the world’s toughest swims through “perishing temperatures” while being lashed by stinging jellyfish.

Dr Nick Murch trained at Parliament Hill Lido four times a week to get acclimatised for the punishing North Channel swim between Ireland and Scotland. The 39-year-old, who works in acute medicine, is only the 53rd person ever to conquer the 21-mile challenge.

Dr Murch

Dr Murch, who has worked at the Hampstead hospital for seven years, said: “It’s the same distance as the Channel but it’s a lot, lot colder – just 10 to 12 degrees – and is recognised as one of the hardest swims in the world. “You also have to watch out for jellyfish. I was stung a couple of times by the lion’s mane, which can pose a real threat. If you get stung too many times you can go into shock. It felt like a burning numbness and it’s how I imagine a stroke would feel.”

Dr Murch set off from Donaghadee, Co Down, at 8.15am on June 25, reaching Scotland just under 12 hours later.

He added: “You think about your breathing and it’s a very meditative state of mind that you enter.” Dr Murch plans to swim the Catalina Channel, off California, and the Straits of Gibraltar.


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