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Swimmer is second to conquer the Pentland Firth in weeks

A 54-year-old swimmer has completed a new route across the Pentland Firth — in an impressive time of two hours and 40 minutes.

Andrea Gellan, of Dunfermline, took on the challenge on Wednesday evening, setting off from South Ronaldsay at 6pm, before reaching the cliffs below the Duncansby Head lighthouse at 8.40pm.

The time has smashed that of Perthshire’s Colleen Blair, who set off from Torness on the south tip of Hoy, and touched land at Scarfskerry in Caithness four hours, 41 minutes and 21 seconds later, just weeks earlier.

Andrea said: “It was cracking — I was so lucky with the tides. When I started out it was flat clam and i had a four knot tide behind me. For the first three miles I did a cracking pace, then I hit the whirlpools in the middle where the currents meet.

“It was quite good fun swimming through it — it was really choppy and bubbly. Thereafter it seemed to build up and was really quite choppy for a while and then there was big, rolling waves.”

Andrea explained that the attempt would not have been successful without the local expertise of boatman, Hamish Mowatt.