All at sea for a good cause

Wayne Singleton is to swim more than 92 miles from the Solway estuary to Silverdale on the Lancashire coast for Brathay Trust. 
August 25, 2022

A Lake District swimmer is heading out to sea next year to raise money for a charity that helps young people. Mag North caught up with Wayne Singleton at the start of his year-long training programme.

Wayne Singleton will swim more than 92 miles from the Solway estuary to Silverdale on the Lancashire coast for Brathay Trust

He will be out at sea for between seven and ten days depending on tides and weather conditions, covering an average of ten miles a day, with six hours in the water and six hours rest.

Wayne, 48, who is an athletics coach, mountain leader and local radio presenter, had hoped to swim across the Channel before the age of 50 after completing the 11-mile length of Windermere swim last year.

But post-lockdown there’s been a long waiting list of available pilots, so Wayne looked for an alternative challenge. 

Wayne Warms Up

“This particular route hasn’t been done before as one swim, though Sean Conway has swum the entire west coast from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in four months,” said Wayne. “Ross Edgley has actually swum all the way around the island of Great Britain in five months.

“But this will have a defined entry and exit point so that it can become the focus of a challenge for others in the future.”

Wayne will start at Bowness on Solway, swimming into the River Eden and out into the Irish Sea, finishing at Silverdale where there’s an access road near Holgates caravan park. He will be supported by kayak paddlers, and will have more substantial boat support for the final section of the journey beyond Barrow, around Walney island and across Lancaster Sound.

He calls it an adventure, not an endurance swim, “so if one day I only manage one mile because of the conditions, that won’t matter.”

Wayne is aiming to do the challenge in 12 months time, next September, and is looking for three levels of support: business sponsorship for the attempt, donations for the charity, and practical help from paddlers and people living near the coast who might be able to accommodate him overnight. So far the Cumbrian Tea Company, and Kalisan UK of Milnthorpe, have stepped up with sponsorship.

It’s a difficult and complex adventure but Wayne is driven by a passion to help Brathay Trust, a multi-faceted social enterprise that touches the lives of thousands of young people in real need every year. “It’s all about supporting young people in Cumbrian communities who find themselves in challenging circumstances. I have seen first hand the impact that this charity has on young people in my own community.”

Based near Ambleside, Brathay offers people-development and leadership coaching for businesses and organisations; outdoor residentials for community groups and schools, and holiday accommodation and challenge events for the public. Each aspect of the organisation runs as part of their social enterprise aiming to enhance well-being and create long-lasting personal change. Any surplus income generated is used to fund life-changing programmes for children, young people and families facing challenges in their lives.

Wayne In The Water

Wayne is no stranger to Brathay; each year he is the finish line commentator for the ASICS Windermere Marathon and Brathay 10in10 challenge. This is when a dedicated group of slightly-crazy runners tackle ten marathons in ten days, following the same route around Windermere, and completing their final run on the day of the marathon race. “And every year I sit there and wonder, could I do that? I can run, but at the moment, after struggling with two bouts of long-covid, I’m a better swimmer than runner.” Though he admits that this year, when the race took place on one of the wettest days of the year,  he was as soaked after the marathon as after a swim.

Among his many roles, Wayne organises a popular couch to 5k programme, the Jogging Pals, and his business the Running Concierge arranges trail and fell-running weekends in the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales. He’s also worked as an HR manager, hosts a popular podcast, and was MC for the recent Ultra Trail of Snowdonia race.

Scott Umpleby, Fundraising Manager at Brathay, said: “Brathay is able to help thousands of disadvantaged children and young people each year due to the generosity of many funders and donors. Wayne has been a valued supporter of the Trust for many years and this huge challenge will raise funds to support local young people. It will also provide an opportunity to promote Brathay’s work across the County. We all look forward to following his progress and supporting him during the swim next year.”

Companies who want to be associated with the challenge and might be able to help are asked to contact Wayne on 07793 532830 

You can follow his training progress on instagram and twitter @SingletonWayne

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