Published Monday 26th September 2016

Three swimmers have become the first to travel the entire length of the River Wye on consecutive days – and all for St Michael’s Hospice.

Nicola Goodwin, Julie Hardman and Ian Rivers walked and swam from its source at Plynlimon to where the river meets the Severn estuary at Chepstow. 

They took on the challenge to explore and highlight the beauty of the river and to raise money for their Hospice.

So far they’ve raised well over £1,000 in memory of friends and family members who have been cared for at St Michael’s.

Their trip saw them swim 87 miles and walk 70 miles inside 12 days.

“Coping with the cold was the biggest challenge,” said Nicola. “The water was 14 degrees at times and it was really difficult finishing each day totally exhausted and knowing that you had to get up the next morning and climb into a cold wetsuit and start again.”

The three swam up to 14 miles a day and were supported by family and friends who supplied hot drinks and food from the riverbanks.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of loved ones and strangers,” said Julie.

“It’s only been possible thanks to the people who have trekked through fields and mud to make sure we had tea and biscuits and a friendly face to keep us going.”

Ian said the trip has been a ‘real adventure’.

“Exploring the river has been a real adventure,” he said.

“It changes completely from the source to the sea and the wildlife, the people and the landscape change with it.” 

The three spent more than seven hours a day swimming or, when the water was either too deep or too dangerous to swim in, walking. 

All three are volunteer coaches with Hereford Triathlon Club and regularly take part in triathlons and open water swimming events.

They hope to raise at least £2,000 for St Michael’s.

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