Siblings swim an epic Loch Lomond challenge

Jo and  younger brother Richard before setting off on their epic swim of Loch lomond for the mental health charity MIND.

Jo and younger brother Richard before setting off on their epic swim of Loch lomond for the mental health charity MIND.

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“You need to be careful what you agree to after a couple of glasses of wine”, says Joanna Crotch, who recently swam the length of Loch Lomond for charity.

The art lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art had her arm twisted by her younger brother Richard, who wanted to mark his 50th birthday by doing something memorable and swim the 36km – a longer distance than swimming the English Channel.

Joanne from Balfron, who also does triathlons, decided to raise money for the mental health charity MIND.

She said: “After a few glasses of wine last year and a bit of persuasion I reluctantly agreed.

“We both reckoned it would take us about 12 hours to complete and set off from Ardlui at 6am last Wednesday.

“We were making really good progress over the first third, but by the time we reached Luss it was blowing a hooley and when we got to Inchmurrin it was really choppy and conditions were quite challenging.

“By the time we reached Balloch it was pouring with rain, but our family and friends were there to cheer us on. I texted one of my sons to say I had finished and he texted back, ‘You’re a nutter!’.”

The duo finished at 6.10pm and were very glad to get out of the cold water and into some lovely dry clothes.

The mother of two boys, aged 25 and 21, added: “We had been training hard in preparation for this and swum at every opportunity. I’d like to thank our patient families and Rory on the support boat, the staff at Virgin Active, Milngavie, Bardowie Loch and Balfron High School for letting me use their facilities.”

The total raised for the charity is just over £3,670.

Joanne decided to support MIND because she has seen at Glasgow School of Art what a good supportive counselling service can do to help young people’s mental health when they are under stress.

She added: “We have a very good student support service and MIND is working to support anyone who has mental health issues to help them through difficult times.”