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Highland woman takes the plunge in freezing lochs to support people living on the streets

During the first week of her challenge, Miss Graham-Stewart has swam at Portmahomack Beach on several occasions.
During the first week of her challenge, Miss Graham-Stewart has swam at Portmahomack Beach on several occasions.

While some of us may have already long forgotten our New Year resolutions, one north woman has been braving the chilly weather to stick with hers.

Trini Graham-Stewart from Glen Affric has vowed to swim in the freezing lochs, rivers and vast seas of the Highlands every day during the month of January in aid of Shelter.

The 28-year-old hopes by wild swimming, she can highlight the freezing temperatures homeless people have to endure during the harsh winter months.

Just days into the feat, she has already smashed her £250 fundraising target with donations continuing to flood in online.

Miss Graham-Stewart, who has been an all year round swimmer since 2017, says her biggest challenge is going to be finding the motivation to endure the changing weather conditions sweeping across the north.

Trini Graham-Stewart wild swimming at Loch Beinn Mheadhoin in Glen Affric in the Highlands.
Trini Graham-Stewart wild swimming at Loch Beinn Mheadhoin in Glen Affric.

‘I always come out and feel much better for it’

She said: “I swim all year round anyway but I wanted to do it for Shelter to show the parallel between the extreme cold and wild swimming in the Highlands in winter with the conditions that homeless people have to endure during these months as well.

“I think the biggest challenge will be motivating myself even when it’s a blizzard and sideways rain and still going out in it.

“I always think that I never regret a swim. Someone said that to me years ago and I think that’s really true. I never come out and think ‘I wish I hadn’t done that.’ I always come out and feel much better for it.”

Miss Graham-Stewart began the fundraising feat on New Year’s Day by taking a dip at Rosemarkie Beach alongside her trusty friend Louise.

Over the last seven days, the 28-year-old has conquered Portmahomack beach on numerous occasions, as she sets her sights on returning to some of her favourite spots.

The 28-year-old says Loch Beinn Mheadhoin is her favourite, not only for the tranquility but the spectacular views.

“My favourite place is a loch in Glen Affric called Beinn Mheadhoin,” Miss Graham-Stewart added.

“Although it’s ridiculously cold its really beautiful.

“There is never anyone there at this time of year which is nice but the landscape is amazing.

Trini Graham-Stewart holding a piece of ice aloft from the frozen loch.
The 28-year-old has already smashed her £250 target, with donations continuing to flood in to her online fundraising page.

“My mum is based by Tain which is why I have swum at Portmahomack a lot recently but I like to swim up near Bonnar Bridge as well. Really all over the place.

“When its this cold it’s quite nice to go to somewhere that you know, so you know what its going to be like in terms of drops in the water and things.”

Grateful for the public’s support

With three weeks left of her fundraising challenge, the 28-year-old is expected to far surpass her target.

She has thanked the public for their generous donations to help support those facing hardships in their life.

She said: “I’m really delighted to have done it so quickly.

“I hope it helps to get people off the streets and also, even people who do have homes, a lot of them are not up to standard so they get legal advice from Shelter on things like that.

“I’m really grateful, especially in January when people are a bit skint, for any donations, big or small.”


Donations to support Trini Graham-Stewart’s fundraising for Shelter can be made online here

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