North West Wales

Jellyfish stings halt non-stop Anglesey swim bid

Liane Hickling in training Image copyright Liane Llewellyn Hickling

A woman's attempt to become the first person to swim non-stop around Anglesey has been called off after she was stung by jellyfish.

Liane Llewellyn Hickling, 34, from Bradford, was pulled out of the water in the Menai Strait on Wednesday night.

She had suffered an allergic reaction after being stung at least six times by Lion's Mane jellyfish.

She was treated at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, and later discharged.

Mrs Llewellyn Hickling set off from Moelfre on Wednesday morning, hoping to complete the 70-mile (112km) course in less than 48 hours, but was forced to give up after 10 hours in the water.

Following British Long Distance Swimming Association rules, she was wearing just a swimsuit, swimming hat and goggles.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, she said: "I was stung in the first hour of the swim but I carried on because my understanding is that saltwater is the best thing for jellyfish stings so I thought it'll ease if I keep swimming but I just got one sting after another.

"I was getting like a burning sensation all across my body where I'd been stung, it was starting to make me really thirsty.

Image copyright Beth Wilkinson
Image caption Liane Llewellyn Hickling had already suffered several jellyfish stings by the time she reached Penmon lighthouse
Image copyright Liane Llewellyn Hickling

"I don't remember too much of what it was like when I got out but the crew were fantastic. They said I was convulsing and I was a bit of a mess really when I got out.

"I think it was the right call."

Mrs Llewellyn Hickling, an NHS physiotherapist, had been raising money for a new RNLI lifeboat to be stationed at Barmouth.

It will be named in honour of crewman Craig Steadman, who died in a motorbike accident last year.

As one of the UK's most-experienced long distance open water swimmers, Mrs Llewellyn Hickling has swum the length of Windermere, Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and, in 2009, became only the third British woman to swim the English Channel, there and back.

As part of her preparation for the rough waters and tides of Anglesey, she completed the first recorded swim around St Kilda in Scotland's Outer Hebrides in June 2016.

She said she is determined to complete the Anglesey swim at a later date and added: "The challenge is there and I will have to come back at some point but I might try and find a time when there are less jellyfish, perhaps."

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