A keen hillwalker and cyclist swam one of the most dangerous stretches of water in Scotland to raise cash for a conservation charity.
Aberdeenshire social worker Rohan Beyts took to the waters of the Gulf of Corryvreckan, site of the world’s third largest whirlpool, in a charity challenge for the John Muir Trust.
Author George Orwell was shipwrecked in the gulf and the channel, between Jura and Scarba in the Hebrides, has a fearsome reputation among sailors for its turbulent waters, but Ms Beyts successfully swam the 1.1km length in 30 minutes.
So far, the 56-year-old of Ellon, has raised more than £1,300 for the charity, which cares for some of Scotland’s wildest areas, including the upper reaches of Ben Nevis.
The crossing had to be accomplished during a 40-minute slack tide period.
Ms Beyts, a trustee of the JMT, was inspired to swim the Corryvreckan after reading about the challenge in a magazine. Orwell’s one-legged brother-in-law Bill Dunn is credited with being the first person to swim the gulf.
She said: “I thought it would be an interesting thing to do.
“I hardly slept thinking about the swim but it was better than I imagined. You don’t know what to expect because the sea can change so quickly.
“The conditions in the Corryvreckan couldn’t have been better but I still had some choppy waves coming over my head. It was getting hard towards the end.”
She added, “I won’t be rushing back to swim it again, I think my big challenge will be to sort out my garden.”
John Hutchison, chairman of the John Muir Trust said: “Rohan is incredibly fit and there was no doubt she could rise to the challenge. Every year I’m amazed by the physical feats that people set themselves to help raise funds for the trust.
“This is a tremendous achievement, and I’d like to thank Rohan for raising so much money for the trust, which will help us to protect wild land and wild places.”
The Corryvreckan whirlpool is created by an underwater pinnacle that forces the fast-flowing water upwards towards the surface. As the tide flows faster round one side of the pinnacle, it catches the upwelling and creates both whirlpools and turbulence.