Plans for a new attempt on swimming across the Minch are gathering pace, as the first possible window of dates for the Big Minch Swim 2019 draws closer.

Endurance swimmers Colin S Macleod of Stornoway and Harris’s Paul Finnegan plan to swim the breadth of the Minch, from Gairloch to Lemreway, with the first possible dates set at 25th to 27th May.

It’s a first attempt for Paul but the second for Colin, who participated in the team swim last year when Colleen Blair became the first person to complete the crossing.

On that occasion Colin was lifted from the water with just a couple of miles to go, after a false alarm on his safety.

The channel still remains unconquered by a man, or by anyone from the islands themselves, so the pair have additional incentive to make this attempt the big one.

They plan to raise funds for Western Isles Community Care Forum and Cancer Research UK and have set up fundraising pages which can be found via their website

Paul is to be sponsored by Essence of Harris, while Colin’s employer, TalkTalk of Stornoway, is sponsoring him. That contribution goes towards the cost of the swimmers’ individual support boats, the Harmony, skippered by Angus Campbell, and the Endeavour, skipper Donald Macdonald.

Six kayakers are giving their time as further supporters to provide encouragement, refreshment and safety support. They are Andrew Reeve, Robert Emmott, Will Goodall Copstake, Phil Jones, Brian Wilson and P J Maclachlan.

Both Paul and Colin successfully swam the 15 mile Little Minch channel in June 2018, from the Isle of Skye to the Isle of Harris, raising funds for their chosen charities.

If the weather doesn’t allow the attempt at the end of May, alternative swim dates of 10th and 11th June or 24th to 28th June are also in the diary.

The pictures show Colin and Paul during previous swims (Big Minch Swim 2019).