Sunday, 8 July 2007

Polar Bare

They say that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, and they might well be right. I've no idea what they say about guys who insist on taking a swim in freezing water, wearing only trunks, goggles and a bathing cap, but, whatever it is, I suspect that endurance swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh will have heard many times.

The the City lawyer, and apparent masochist, who, in May, plunged into a freezing Norwegian fjord, is at it again. Despite claims that he'd reached his limit in his last, record-setting escapade, he now intends to swim for 1km in water temperatures as low as -1.8c.

Pugh, who is the only person to have completed a long distance swim in all of the world's five oceans, apparently wants to draw attention to global warming with his latest outing.

WHY? It's not as though it's any big secret, is it? The media is so full of the subject that I, for one, am sick to death of hearing about it. Of course, Mr Pugh is welcome to paddle away in any ocean where it's legal for him to do so, but does he really think his antics will make any significant difference?

Maybe he does. Personally, I doubt it. Nonetheless, he should be allowed to do as he wishes. But, before he takes the plunge, someone should take him aside for a quiet word and remind him that, in the 21st Century, we have boats, aircraft and all manner of other fancy transportation; there really is no need to swim, particularly not in icy waters, and anyone who doesn't realise that is probably not going to be seen as a credible environmental campaigner.

Naturally, I don't expect this revelation to deter Mr Pugh from his attempt, and, believe it or not, I wish him good luck, and all the joy that swimming practically starkers at the North Pole can bring - strange folks have been doing daft things in odd places for centuries, and I very much doubt they're about to stop now.

Billy Seggars.

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