Scratch makes history to raise cash for unit

Scratchs swim raised over 4,000 for the maternity ward which he handed over on Wednesday morning
Scratchs swim raised over 4,000 for the maternity ward which he handed over on Wednesday morning

Brocher  Mark ‘Scratch’ Cameron has become the first man to swim the Pentland Firth from Orkney to Scotland.

Scratch set out on the marathon swim across the firth from Burwick in South Ronaldsay at 4pm on August 20.

Passengers on a passing vessel cheer Scratch on

Passengers on a passing vessel cheer Scratch on

Guided by local fisherman and expert on the notorious tides Hamish Mowatt and his brother Lawrence in an escort boat, the Broch swimmer touched the base of the Scottish cliffs at Duncansby Head four hours and 15 minutes later

Scratch had taken on the challenge of swimming the Pentland Firth in memory of his girlfriend Ena Brown and to raise funds for the maternity unit in Orkney where she worked.

Ena had worked at the Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall as a midwife nurse before she died suddenly earlier this year.

Scratch’s swim raised more than £4,000 for the maternity ward and he handed over a cheque on Wednesday morning before returning to Fraserburgh.

Scratch admitted that it had been his most gruelling test of endurance yet

Scratch admitted that it had been his most gruelling test of endurance yet

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The Pentland Firth is notorious for its extremely strong currents and wild conditions created by tides and swell from the Atlantic and the North Sea meeting in the stretch of water which separates the isles of Orkney from the Scottish mainland.

There are only two or three days each lunar cycle when it would be possible to attempt the crossing providing the weather behaved itself.

Originally scheduled for the August 22 or 23, the weather forecast looked very poor last weekend and the swim looked as it may have to be put off for a year.

However the forecast changed dramatically on the Sunday morning and all of a sudden it was scheduled for the next day and Scratch went for it.

He’s won seven Scottish surfing titles and ran numerous marathons, but Scratch admitted that it had been his most gruelling test of endurance yet, admitting: “The last 15 minutes took an hour and a half!”

But he continued: “Seriously, I’ve been really touched by all the messages of support and generosity of people.

“It was this thought that kept me going through the final stages.

“I think Ena would have been proud.”