Mike (far left) and Mark (far right) Join Swim The Eden  | Photo:  James Silson
[The Eden] is the main artery that runs to the heart of the Eden Valley, weaving in secret across the lowlands, through wheat fields, nettle thickets and forests. In its infancy it bubbles up from peaty bogs and tumbles down the gorges of Black Fell Moss. Then it leaves the rugged high ground and snakes thinly along the forested boundary between Cumbria and North Yorkshire. Suddenly the river plummets down the steep dale of Mallerstang and arcs and bends and opens into the green Vale of Eden. For several miles the waters run between sandstone cliffs, farmed fields and little forests. Villages and parishes appear, and the town of Appleby jumps out from the widening banks. All the while the river is filled by brooks and streams, carrying the cold runoff from the Pennines and the western lakes. Finally it passes through the city of Carlisle and stretches out over the squelching tidal flats of England’s eastern coast, where it joins the River Esk and enters the Solway Firth.
— Jack Hudson (Ch.2 Going Home, Swim Wild)

Almost a year in the making: the 90-mile Swim the Eden adventure was a chance for the brothers to return to their roots and revisit the swimming spots they loved as kids. It was an opportunity for them to swap the humdrum clockwork of their respective cities (Newcastle, London, Berlin) for the easy rhythms of the natural world. The fact they could also raise money for the Swimming Trust was the final decider - they had to go through with it.


The Eden swim turned out to be great fun. It took the boys 9 days in total. They started in the peaty bogs and gorges of Black Fell Moss. Then they wound down the steep dale of Mallerstang and floated through the green Vale of Eden. For 9 days they swam all the way across the Eden Valley and passed through Carlisle and ended on the tidal flats of England’s eastern coast, where the Eden joins the River Esk and enters the Solway Firth.


The whole swim was filmed by the human Swiss Army knife: James Silson. He kayaked alongside the brothers, supported at intervals by Jack's good mates: David Renton and Sandy Kerridge. Then there were the ever-trusty, food-chariots driven by Mum and Dad, as well as Jack’s then-girlfriend Beth who baked brownies and cakes to keep the boys blubbered-up…

More examples of those kind folk who get you through tough times.

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