Sheila (61) to swim between Scottish islands

Sheila Kelly is due to set out on her swim today
Sheila Kelly is due to set out on her swim today

A 61-year-old is hoping to create a few ripples of interest by swimming between two Scottish islands to raise money and awareness for Water Aid.

Sheila Kelly from Brightons will today – weather permitting – attempt to swim from Tiree to Coll across the Gunna Sound in the Inner Hebrides, a distance of between 4-5km.

Sheila, a swimming teacher and lifeguard at Braes High School in Reddingmuirhead, discovered her love of swimming in the great outdoors after doing her first Great North Swim back in 2008.

She chose the stretch of water as her mum used to live on Coll and she has holidayed on Tiree for the past 20 years, so she knows the area well.

She has already done this year’s Great North Swim as part of her preparation and is planning another 10km swim of the Thames on August 9.

Sheila said: “Over the years I have increased the distance and extended the variety of places I swim.

“I can’t find anyone who has actually done this swim so I’m a little nervous, but I’ll have the help of local crofter and fisherman Iain McDonald who has given me valuable information and will accompany me in his boat throughout my swim.”

Through the swim, Sheila wants to do her bit to help third world countries have clean, safe water – which is global charity Water Aid’s objective. Diarrhoea caused by dirty water and bad sanitation is the second biggest child killer worldwide.

Sheila added: “I feel I am so fortunate to live in this part of the world where clean safe water is always available. There is so much that we can use it for recreation too. I would be bereft if I didn’t have the water we do have.

“I would love to see everyone on the planet having clean, safe water to drink, to wash in and one day enough to enjoy as we do.”

To donate to Sheila’s Water Aid quest visit