Update 12.00 Monday 10 June: Endurance swimmer Colin Macleod has reached the halfway point in his bid to become the first man to swim solo across the Minch.

With his back-up team of kayakers and supporters, Colin boarded the support boat Endeavour, skippered by DK Macdonald, soon after midnight and set off from Gairloch at 4.07am today (Monday June 10th).

Morning progress on the 25-mile solo swim route was excellent, with smooth conditions and a warm sea temperature of 10 degrees. Donna Macleod, Colin’s wife and chief supporter, reported that he was stopping every 30 minutes for food and drink and that his biggest problem was fighting off the birds who came after his jaffa cakes!

Alongside Colin on the marathon attempt are kayakers Brian Wilson and Robert Emmott and, in the boat, his son Joseph is preparing the essential nutrition that keeps him going. Offstage are not just Donna but the expedition sponsors, who include Colin’s employer, TalkTalk.

Meanwhile the total on Colin’s JustGiving page is racing ahead, with donations for Cancer Research UK coming in thick and fast since he entered the water. The aim is to reach £5,000 and the target is currently over 83% met online, with paper sponsorship and Gift Aid top-ups adding up to well over a further £1,000.

The end point of the swim is at Lemreway in Lochs and Colin will have swum over 25 miles by the time he hits land this evening, with a hero’s welcome awaiting him.

You can follow Colin’s swim on his tracker (https://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0PVafKO6mn9C3ydojszrfu5uZjGtkcy2z) or check in for bulletins on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/345111889268982/?tn-str=*F

Pictures shows Colin (right) aboard the Endeavour with his support team, heading out for the start point in the early hours of this morning and at 12 noon today, 10 miles in to the swim (Joseph Macleod).

Sunday 9 June: Endurance swimmer Colin Macleod will be swimming the first strokes of the Big Minch Swim soon after 3am tomorrow morning (Monday June 10th) – hoping to become the first man to conquer the Big Minch.

The Big Minch Swim 2019 starts from Gairloch on the west coast of the mainland, heading, in as straight a line as Colin can manage, for Lemreway in Lochs, a total distance of 25 miles.

He’ll be supported on the route by support boat the Endeavour, skippered by Donald ‘DK’ MacDonald, with son Joseph Macleod on board, in charge of nutrition, and kayakers Brian Wilson and Robert Emmott on the water, to monitor Colin’s condition and pass information directly to him in the water.

The swim will raise funds for Cancer Research UK, with his target of £5,000 already 75% towards completion on his JustGiving page. (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theminchswims)

Originally, Colin planned to swim alongside Harris athlete Paul Finnegan on his own solo attempt – the pair completed the 15-mile Little Minch swim together in June 2018, from the Isle of Skye to Harris. Sadly, a chest infection earlier this year knocked Paul’s training schedule back, though he still plans to make the attempt with his own support crew later this summer.

Colin was part of a three-person team who set out to conquer the Minch in 2018, with his team-mate Colleen Blair becoming the first person to swim the Minch solo at the end of the effort.

That attempt ended in drama for Colin, who was swimming strongly within a couple of miles of his destination when he was pulled from the water by MV Loch Seaforth’s fast rescue boat. The team support boat had lost sight of him in darkness and called emergency services, believing him to be in trouble.

You can follow this new challenge using Colin’s live tracker at https://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0PVafKO6mn9C3ydojszrfu5uZjGtkcy2z

Pictures show Colin powering through the water during an earlier challenge in 2018 (Noel Hawkins) and with wife and supporter-in-chief Donna (Colin Macleod).