The Inaugural Inch Mile Swim - An Imperial Swim from Inch to Rathmullan this Saturday

The Inaugural Inch Mile Swim - An Imperial Swim from Inch to Rathmullan this Saturday

The inaugural Inch Mile Swim is set to take place on the 24th of August in which over 100 experienced sea swimmers from all over Ireland will swim the mile channel across Lough Swilly between Inch Island and Rathmullan. The swimmers will be brought by boat to the pier at Inch Island and then swim back to the beach in Rathmullan.

The event is part of the prestigious Global Swim Series which is world’s largest collection of open water swimming races. 

The swim is being organised by the Gartan Open Water Swimmers , a small group of open water swimming enthusiasts.  This group swim regularly in many locations throughout our beautiful County Donegal, you can find more information on their Facebook page ‘Gartan Open Water Swimmers’.

Race director, Keith McClean said: “This is a challenging swim, and not one for novices; it’s not the actual distance, but there are strong tidal currents flowing in the channel, however we have been working with local experts and the harbour master to examine the tidal flow, so the swim can take place when these currents are not as powerful.”

Mark Loughridge, of the Gartan Open Water Swimmers, stated: “As swimmers and event organisers, we are constantly looking to expand and develop our sport, and here in Donegal we are spoilt for choice with an amazing Atlantic coastline, fabulous lakes and Islands, so this year we added a new swim to the Open Water Calendar, which we hope people will find challenging and enjoyable.

“Open water sea swimming is not for the fainthearted and the main priority for us as organisers is the safety and well-being of all those taking part in the event; on the day of the swim there will be lots safety boats and kayak cover ensuring a safe swim. Events like this don’t just happen overnight; they need community support and investment to bring them to fruition; we are delighted to have support and sponsorship from Donegal Oil, Gartan Technologies, Bonnar Group, Highland Motors, Wet & Wild, Amanda’s Kennels Joe McDaid Accountant. We are also indebted to Rathmullan Sailing Club , Sheephaven Sub Aqua Club, Dominic Sweeney of Lough Swilly Ferry without whose support events like this would be impossible. “

Open Water Swimming is fast growing in popularity and it has been shown to be of real benefit to people both physically and mentally. It is important nonetheless to be safe and respect the sea; we are delighted that proceeds will go to the Lifeboats RNLI,  the Sheephaven Sub-Aqua Club and Rathmullan Watersports/Sailing Club.

Karen Crawford, from the Gartan Open Water Swimmers said: “We are small group of enthusiastic individuals who are dedicated to growing the sport by developing events such as the Inch Mile, that create excitement, a unique experience and a challenge in open water swimming.” 

Paddy Bond went on to say: “It takes a lot of hard work behind the scenes to make the event run smoothly and be successful this was down to the small but dedicated team that is the Gartan Open Water Swimmers”

The schedule for The Inch Mile is outlined below, come early and enjoy the fun:

9am - 10.30am Registration
11.30am: Swimmer briefing - all swimmers must attend
11.50: Swimmers counted into entry pen
12md: Swimmers into boat
12.20pm: Ferry leaves Rathmullan
12.30pm Swim start at Inch Island

12.50pm First swimmers expected at Rathmullan

 So be sure to be at Rathmullan on the 24th August to support the swimmers who are taking part in this wonderful swim.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email To contact Donegal Post, email To contact Inish Times, email

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.