Friday 6 July 2018  Issue No 2293


Welcome to all those here for the annual


this weekend

Good Luck…..!  SWIMMING THE MINCH   Saturday 7 July

Paul Finnegan, Colin Macleod and local Ullapool man Norman Todd (pictured) will be attempting to solo swim the Big Minch Channel between the Western Isles & Mainland UK on Saturday 7 July to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care, Western Isles Community Care Forum and Cancer Research UK.  No-one has ever completed a solo swim across the Big Minch Channel before.
The swim route is from Lemreway (Isle of Lewis) to Rubha Reidh (Gairloch), weather permitting. It is 25 miles across - longer than the English Channel. These intrepid swimmers are hoping for a great welcome as there will be a BBQ and music at Rubha Reidh. They are happy for any boats to escort them in for the last leg.

Article Update:

On Saturday 7th July, three renowned Scottish swimmers will attempt to swim the Minch from Orinsay on Lewis to Rubha Reidh near Gairloch in Wester Ross. 

Colleen Blair, 39, from Perth, Colin Macleod 46, from Stornoway and Norman Todd, Ullapool, 46 will be aiming to swim across the treacherous 25 mile stretch in 15-18 hours supported by a flotilla of boats and kayaks. Among the many challenges the three swimmers aim to overcome are fatigue, dehydration, lions mane jellyfish, strong tides and the possibility of Orca appearing alongside. 

There has been multiple attempts to swim the Minch but none have yet succeeded. The most recent attempt was on Monday night when South African swimmer, Phia Steyn who is coached by Robert Hamilton of Vigour Events, had to abandon her swim after four hours due to multiple jellyfish stings which hospitalised her. 

Offshore worker Todd, whose ice swimming video went globally viral this year is a relative newcomer to long distance swimming.

'I am a middle lane swimmer and certainly not the fastest however I have been training for this for 9 months and it will be the biggest challenge of my life.' 

Highlander Todd has swum alongside Hebridean Macleod on several occasions previously creating a strong partnership. Macleod, who has already swam the 17 mile Little Minch this year, aims to add the Minch to his already impressive swimming resume.

' Swimming the Minch has been has been on my bucket list for years and I am well prepared to take on this epic task' 

Unlike her two fellow swimmers who will be wearing wetsuits, Colleen Blair will only be wearing a swimsuit in accordance to the British Long Distance Swimming Association's rules. Colleen is regarded as one of Scotland's top long distance swimmer. She swam the English Channel at the age of 20 and has gone on to be one a select few to have swum the Northern Channel and the first to cross the Pentland Firth. If she completes this then it will be regarded as the greatest ever accomplishment in Scottish open water swimming history. 

' The Minch swim was suggested to me 20 years ago by a college friend who was from Lewis, the idea has intrigued me ever since. I started to plan this swim 3 years ago but for various reasons, including the weather, the opportunity has not risen until now. When the guys offered me the opportunity to swim with them I couldn't refuse, it's also in aid of great charities. It's a long cold swim which has never been done as a solo swim before so why wouldn't you give it a go.

To view: Norman Todd's ice swim...


As the UN went to press, we’re pleased to announce the wraps were coming off the first acts for this year’s Loopallu.

Expecting blistering shows from long term favourites ALABAMA 3, plus a whole raft of first time visitors to the village including THE BLUETONES, BAD MANNERS, JOHN COOPER CLARKE, BRITISH SEA POWER, ASTRID and something very new and special from MARK RADCLIFFE. In conjunction with Ullapool Book Festival, Literally Literary at Loopallu welcomes VAL McDERMID. Many more acts will be announced in due course.

Tickets are on sale now from The Arch Inn or at