Coquet Island swim will revive tradition

Frances Anderson and Jane Hardy at Amble, with Coquet Island in the background.
Frances Anderson and Jane Hardy at Amble, with Coquet Island in the background.

Two watersports enthusiasts will be recreating a historic tradition, to help launch this year’s Amble Puffin Festival.

Open-water swimmers Jane Hardy, from Alnwick, and Frances Anderson, of Amble, are preparing to swim from Coquet Island to Amble Links on Thursday, May 24.

Their efforts will be ahead of the annual puffin festival, which begins two days later (see article, right), and recreate a once-popular town tradition.

In 1917, there was a report of a swim to the island as an ‘unprecedented feat by two Amble ladies’.

It was believed to have inspired the club championship – a swim from Amble, round Coquet Island and back. In 1923, Georgina Rollo became the first woman to win the club championship race.

Jane said: “Frances and I have been looking into the history of open-water swimming in Amble and want to complete some swims from the olden days, and this one is the first.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring history back to life. It will be a challenge and a chance to embrace nature.”

The pair will not land on Coquet Island and will have boat cover as a precaution.

Jane is an experienced ice swimmer, while Frances has swum the Channel. The pair will try this challenge, with a view to swim round the island at a later date.