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Spirits high as preparations get underway for attempt to smash 26-year-old rowing record of Loch Ness

Spirits among the camp of a hardy band of rowers were high yesterday ahead of today’s attempt to break a 26-year-old world record of rowing the distance of Loch Ness in the fastest time possible.

The team, led by Scottish adventurer Jock Wishart who will navigate the boat, are currently undertaking a unique trio of events to break three notorious world records, beginning with their attempt today to navigate the Nessie-infested waters in the fastest time ever recorded.

The 14-strong team began preparations on Loch Ness yesterday in dreich weather, setting sail for the first time in the specially crafted Trainera boat, which has been brought to the UK from the Basque region of northern Spain.

Yesterday, Mr Wishart was full of promise ahead of the world record-breaking attempt scheduled to begin at 9am today from Dores.

Mr Wishart said: “It has always been our ambition to break some records.

“The Great River Race, which consists of 350 crews all taking part from Greenwich to Kew, has a record of two hours and three minutes, so we think we can go under two hours, and the English Channel record is two hours and 46 minutes, so we think again we can take a chunk off that, but this is the hardest one for us to do here on Loch Ness.

“This is really about record-breaking.”

Despite a few practice runs on the famed Loch yesterday, Mr Wishart confirmed there had been no sighting or evidence of the famed inhabitant of the deepest stretch of water in the UK.

He said: “There have been no nibbles at the oars just yet, and no giant bites, but we have said this challenge is all about waking the monster.

“We have a great crew. There are British international rowers amongst them, they are all elderly but they have all got the time to do it and they have all kept themselves fit.

“We are just going out to beat the record. It is going to be hard enough as it is. It is a lot to ask but we are looking forward to it.”

The team has been constructed of many experienced rowers, ranging from the youngest at 56, to the oldest at 70, with some even holding some unique world records in the sport as well as further afield.

Malcolm Knight, who himself holds five rowing world records, will be providing assistance from the safety boat, and yesterday expressed his confidence in the team.

Mr Knight said: “To have Jock’s experience and knowledge at the helm, coaching the crew and keeping the rate down, there is no better man really.

“We only deal in breaking records and that is what we are going to do.

“We anticipate it taking just over two hours so we hope to beat it by some time and I am confident of us doing just that.”

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