Gibraltar Squadron Swim the Rock for RNRMC

It is a long upheld tradition that Royal Navy ships visiting Gibraltar set one morning aside for the Ship’s company to face the arduous challenge of running to the top of the famous Rock.

But what if your Ship is based here permanently?  What if running up the Rock is the norm?  When the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron set itself the challenge of raising £1000 for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) it required some original thinking to find a challenge that was a little out of the ordinary.

For the team of 26 regular and Reserve personnel that make up the Squadron, their day-to-day duties are focussed on patrolling the territorial waters of Gibraltar and escorting warships and submarines in and out of the Mediterranean harbour. 

So they decided that to raise money and awareness for the RNRMC they would conduct a patrol with a difference and swim the entire way around Gibraltar, all 6.8 nautical miles.

We all got into the water for the final kilometre and by then some of the guys were feeling the combined effects of the wind, sun and sea but they did a fantastic job

Lieutenant Tom Lindsey RN

Having set their target and started fund-raising, the team of eight volunteers then began their individual training to make sure that they could play their part in the relay swim. 

The Squadron’s Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr James Myhill said: “Before this event I hadn’t swum in a pool for about ten years but I have been getting some practice in whilst learning to kite-surf in nearby Tarifa. 

“Sea-swimming adds many other elements including the tide and currents, the weather and sea state and of course the traffic that we have to share the water with anything from little fishing boats up to 40,000 ton super-tankers.

“All of these extra challenges are what we think makes this a little bit different and will hopefully inspire people to donate to RNRMC.”

The swim started off from Eastern beach, at the north-eastern limit of Gibraltar’s waters with some challenging surf for the team to get through. 

Once clear of the beach they turned right and headed south towards Europa point before swimming up the western side and passing Rosia Bay, the port of Gibraltar and the Cruise Terminal, finishing in Ocean Village marina.

Lieutenant Tom Lindsey, HMS Sabre’s Commanding Officer said: “Overall we completed the swim in 5 hours between the team of eight.

“I think the biggest challenges were getting clear of the surf on Eastern beach and the sea that was running against us when we rounded Europa Point.

“I’m really proud of the team and the effort that they’ve put in to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. 

“We all got into the water for the final kilometre and by then some of the guys were feeling the combined effects of the wind, sun and sea but they did a fantastic job and it was great to see people waving us in and cheering us on for the final leg.”

To date, the team have raised over £700 but now that the challenge has been completed are still hoping that people will donate to help them reach their £1000 goal.

Every year the RNRMC funds projects and facilities to boost the morale of those serving today, whether they are at sea, under the sea or ashore. 

This includes paying a grant to all vessels on deployment.  They support charities that provide childcare, special needs education, days out and in-home support to Naval families. 

RNRMC also works with charities that provide nursing, treatment, equipment and respite care for elderly veterans and partner with groups who look after working age veterans in finding employment or tackling combat related stress.

If you would like to sponsor this event and donate to the RNRMC then please follow the link below or text “Navy Gib” to 70500 to give £5.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/RNGS_Swim_the_Rock

The chance to donate will close at the end of July.