At 22 miles long, 230m deep and with temperatures as low as 7 degrees, less than 30 people have completed this challenge according to the British Long Distance Swimming Association Marathon Swim Database. Helen will be supported by a pilot and crew and will adopt Channel Swimming Rules, which means she will be wearing a standard swimming costume, a hat and a pair of goggles – no wetsuits are allowed.

The swim itself will be from Fort Augustus in the South to Loch End in the North and she is hoping to spot the friendly Loch Ness Monster lurking somewhere in the depths along the way.

Helen will be taking on the challenge in August 2020 and she will be sharing her training journey with us all through this blog. 

Here is Helen's second blog post from November/December 2019:

Scarily, I can now say that I am swimming Loch Ness THIS year! 

My sister and I both successfully completed the Cold Water Swim Course on 3 November.  The course was very informative and gave Hayley, as my support crew, some pointers to consider on my Loch Ness Swim.

Cold water training is well and truly under way.  As a bit of fun, and in order to give my weekend cold water swims a bit of focus, I have signed up for a Polar Bear Challenge, level Jedi!  I did this challenge last year and completed the Gold level.  This year the organiser added a new ‘extreme’ level for those of us who are seasoned cold water swimmers. 

In order to complete the Jedi level I have to swim 250 metres twice a month and complete 3000 metres total distance each month.  In addition I must also complete all the following specified swims at some point during the challenge period. Although they follow a logical and recommended progression they don’t have to be swum in any specific order:-

1500 metres at 9 degrees or less

2000 metres at 9 degrees or less

1250 metres at 8 degrees or less

1750 metres at 8 degrees or less

1000 metres at 7 degrees or less

1500 metres at 7 degrees or less

750 metres at 6 degrees or less

1250 metres at 6 degrees or less

450 metres at 5 degrees or less

1000 metres at 5 degrees or less

In November and December I have completed the required monthly distance and I have also completed all of the additional swims except for the two at 5 degrees or less and that is only because the water temperatures haven’t got that low in the lake yet!  Hopefully we will get a bit of a cold snap soon and I will be able to get the last two swims completed. 

By undertaking the Polar Bear Challenge I have swum over 18 kilometres in November and December in water less than 9 degrees. Although not a massive distance, it is more about time spent in the water rather than the distance swum and so I tend to stay in for between 45 and 60 minutes.  This time spent in the water now will be vital and hugely beneficial when I come to swim Loch Ness in August.  I am quite lucky in that I don’t tend to suffer from the after drop too much (see my blog for September / October), although as the temperature goes down, the severity of my post swim shivers is starting to increase!

Technique training is still going on in the pool to increase efficiency and, hopefully, reduce pain in my shoulder.  Plans are already being made for swims in the lake district and perhaps another trip up to Loch Ness for a swim and to meet my boat pilot and escort, more to follow in my next blogs.

If you have any questions about my swim or my training, please email me on [email protected]

If you would like to sponsor me please visit my Orpheus fundraising page at