Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Whale joins man for swim to Scotland

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Swimmers making their way to Scotland have been joined by an unexpected companion.

On an excursion being overseen by Brian Meharg MBE of Bangor Boats, a group taking part in the open-water swim found themselves shoulder to shoulder with a minke whale.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from aboard his vessel a short while ago, Mr Meharg said: "I thought it was a pilot whale, but different people contacted me to say it was a minke whale. It stayed for about an hour and it was showing off its belly.

"It was mostly interested in the boat though, and didn't take much notice of the swimmer."

Meharg explained that the man making the journey, Simon Oliver from Christchurch in New Zealand, was tackling the swim as part of his training.

"He is doing it like everything else," he said.

"Some people like to cycle, to run. It's like that, long-distance swimming has become very popular."

Mr Meharg added that there was a relay team of swimmers about a mile behind the boat, and another man from Cork about four miles behind that group.

"It is not to do with how fast you do it, it is to do with whether you’re able to do it. If you can finish it," he added.

Speaking a short time ago, Meharg said that they were around two kilometres from Scotland, or "80 lengths of a 25 metres pool".

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