After 37 jellyfish stings, a rotting tongue and neck wound, swimmer circumnavigates Great Britain

A British swimmer became the first person to circumnavigate the whole of Great Britain – a 1,791-mile challenge that took him 157 days.

Hundreds of spectators cheered as long-distance swimmer Ross Edgley, 33, swam ashore in Margate on Sunday, touching dry land for the first time since June 1.

“I got out of the water and thought, ‘This is gonna be amazing, I’ll run in like ‘Baywatch,’” he told The Guardian shortly after completing the feat. “The reality is that I’m really chubby now, really hairy, and I had a pink town buoy. When I made it to dry land I was just relieved I didn’t fully fall over.”

Edgley’s journey consisted of swimming about 12 hours a day in two six-hour stints. He endured 37 jellyfish stings, a rotting tongue, suspected torn shoulder and an open neck wound from chaffing.

Ross Edgley said the darkest moment of his ‘Great British Swim’ was when a giant jellyfish attached itself to his face for about 30 minutes. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images for Red Bull)

The darkest moment came during a night swim in the Gulf of Corryvreckan – just off the west coast of Scotland – when a giant jellyfish attached itself to Edgley’s face for about 30 minutes. At no point did he lose his stride.

“The sting was searing into my skin; it wrapped around my goggles,” he told the Guardian. “This fat, giant jellyfish of Scotland and its tentacle had been slapping me in the face for half an hour through a giant whirlpool. It was brutal but you couldn’t stop.”

The best moment, Edgley said, was when he was accompanied by a female Minke whale for about five miles. He said it probably mistook him for an injured seal.

“It was amazing. But it didn’t end up coming to Margate – I hope she writes to me,” he said.

According to the Guardian, Edgley consumed between 10,000 to 15,000 calories each day wolfing down pizza, pasta, rice pudding, 610 bananas and 314 cans of Red Bull.

“There’s not many places you come in and people are asking you to sign bananas,” he told the BBC.

Edgley admitted to the Guardian he got choked up when 300 fellow swimmers joined him for the final kilometer.

“(I) had to put my goggles on because I was starting to cry. It was amazing,” he added.

This superhuman feat is just the latest for the English daredevil, who has also climbed a rope the height of Mount Everest in one 19-hour sitting and ran a marathon while tethered to a Mini Cooper behind him. The swim around Great Britain was the toughest of them all, Edgley said.

“Hands down the hardest thing on so many levels: physical, mental,” he told the Guardian. “I felt a fatigue that I’ve never felt before.”

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