Devon

Teacher becomes first woman to swim to Lundy Island

Sadie Davies Image copyright Sadie Davies
Image caption Sadie Davies became the first woman and fourth person to complete the nine-hour swim

A teacher has become the first woman to complete the 15-mile swim from Hartland to Lundy island.

Sadie Davies, 45, completed the feat in just under nine hours, making her just the fourth person to do so.

Mrs Davies, from Bideford, Devon, undertook the "tough" challenge on Friday to raise money for environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage.

She began the swim at 05:00 BST, describing the "hardest part" as the initial plunge into the frigid water.

"The moon was in the sky, first light was just coming through. It was a beautiful moment, but also quite a tough moment."

The extreme tides and swell that characterise the stretch of water posed significant challenges throughout the swim.

Image copyright Sadie Davies
Image caption Mrs Davies began the swim in partial darkness, describing the scene as "eerie"

A support boat was in charge of keeping track of her in the waves, as well as feeding her to keep her energy and body temperature up throughout.

Sea sickness caused by the swells meant she was forced to consume energy gels, after being unable to "keep [her] banana down".

The island is a "very important" place for Mrs Davies, spending large parts of her childhood there with her father, a local scuba diver.

The family scattered their father's ashes on the island after he died.

"It felt like I was swimming out there to him today," she said.

Image copyright Sadie Davies
Image caption Mrs Davies has become the fourth person to be named on the Cyril Webber Cup

After completing the swim she was presented with the Cyril Webber Cup, named after the first person to attempt the swim in 1952.

Mr Webber was unable to make it, due to seasickness, although his companion, Egyptian army Captain Hassan Abdel Rahim, was able to finish.

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