Friday 23 February 2018

TV adventurer Ben Fogle set to swim the Atlantic

Ben Fogle with the Olympic Torch at the Eden Project near Bodelva, Cornwall. Photo: PA
Ben Fogle with the Olympic Torch at the Eden Project near Bodelva, Cornwall. Photo: PA
Ben Fogle taking the Olympic flame in a lamp on a hot air balloon ride at the Eden Project. Photo: PA

TV adventurer Ben Fogle admitted today that he feels "scared" as he prepares for his most punishing challenge yet - swimming across the Atlantic Ocean.

The presenter said he will battle feelings of "solitude and loneliness" when he spends up to 12 hours a day in the water, swimming the equivalent of the Channel, to make it in his target of 100 days.

He will also face the risks of icebergs and sharks during his epic 3,000-mile journey from the US to Cornwall, which will dwarf the gruelling achievement of comic David Walliams who swam much of the Thames last year.

Fogle was joined by wife Marina and their two children, two-year-old Ludo and one-year-old Iona, for the launch of his e in London's Hyde Park, the venue for the Open Water Swim at the Olympic Games.

The 38-year-old said: "It's something I've always dreamed of doing but I never knew if it was possible or not.

"It's a massive challenge, easily the biggest thing I've ever done. I'm not a particularly competent or confident swimmer but I love the ocean and I love a big challenge. It genuinely is into the realm of the unknown.

"It does scare me because I really don't know what is going to happen. Only one person has done this but that is what attracted me towards this.

"I do need adventure. Some people don't quite understand that, but it's the only thing I'm good at. Spending long times pushing myself mentally and physically.

"Solitude and loneliness will be the biggest obstacles. Psychologically it will be very hard. Then of course there is the physical damage on the shoulders and the arms, salt burn, icebergs, sharks - all of those things are factors as well."

Fogle's previous escapades have included rowing across the Atlantic with friend and Olympic star James Cracknell, as well as racing to the South Pole, which led to him suffering frostbite to his nose.

The TV daredevil has also competed in the Marathon Des Sables and has swum from San Francisco to Alcatraz.

He will undergo a tough training schedule over the coming months in preparation for his Atlantic swim in 2013.

Only one other person has completed the ocean swim, and Fogle will be accompanied by a support yacht for sleeping and eating. He will log his starting and stopping points each day to ensure he swims the full distance.

Fogle - who first found fame as a participant in the BBC series Castaway in which he lived on the island of Taransay - said: "You get out of life what you put in and the greatest achievements come from the biggest challenges.

"If I can complete it, it will be the culmination of a childhood dream and the completion of an Atlantic circle that began in the North Atlantic in 2000 where I spent the year on Taransay.

"Having rowed east to west, I will complete the circle by swimming west to east back home to Cornwall."

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