Those of you who have read my thriller, “Coffin Road”, will know that some of the action takes place on one of a group of tiny islands twenty miles off the west coast of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
They are the Flannan Isles, made famous at the start of the 20th century when three lighthouse keepers stationed on one of the seven islands disappeared without trace or explanation.
The lighthouse stood on the largest of the Flannans, Eilean Mor, and was state of the art at the time. However, regardless of what might have been happening on the outside, one of the keepers was obliged always to remain within. Yet when the relief vessel arrived in December 1900, all three were gone. Despite extensive investigation, their disappearance remains a mystery to this day.
A gift for a writer of crime and mystery books like myself.
But now a new adventure is set to bring the Flannan Isles back into public focus. One which, hopefully, will have a much happier ending.
Three swimmers from the Western Isles – Ed Smith, Colin S. Macleod and Stuart Baird – are set to undertake a hugely dangerous relay swim from Eilean Mor, across twenty-one miles of treacherous Atlantic Ocean, to Uig on the south-west coast of Lewis.
Why are they undertaking this dangerous journey? To raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) – the lifeboat charity that rescues an average of 22 people every day from around the shores of the United Kingdom.
And this isn’t the first time these young men have put their lives on the line to save the lives of others. In August 2015 they swam, in relay, the sixty miles of Atlantic from St. Kilda to Huishinish on the west coast of Harris. Following the success of that swim they were nominated for the 2016 Scottish Adventure Awards, and picked-up the team prize.
You can read all about that adventure here: http://stkildaswim.co.uk
The Flannan Isles swim will take place during the week of 12th to 19th August this year, when it is hoped to raise £1000. Ed, Colin and Stuart will swim, relay-style, in 45-minute bursts, supported by the crew of the Mv Cuma, and three kayakers. You can read all about it on a website specially created for the occasion, and can also make your online donation to the event from there:
I am going to kick-off the fundraiser with a personal donation of £100, and would be more than happy if any of my readers felt moved to make a donation themselves, no matter how small.
Good luck, lads!