Published: 03/10/2011 13:08 - Updated: 03/10/2011 13:08

Thurso businessman Mark Taylor braved the treacherous Pentland Firth for six-mile swim

Written byby Alan Shields

Renowned local fiddler Karen Steven welcomes home the swimmers at Thurso beach with a rendition of her fundraising tune ‘Matty’s Appeal’.
Renowned local fiddler Karen Steven welcomes home the swimmers at Thurso beach with a rendition of her fundraising tune ‘Matty’s Appeal’.

A THURSO businessman risked life and limb on Sunday by swimming six miles of the treacherous Pentland Firth for a very special cause.

Picture Box and Hush boutique owner Mark Taylor is currently undertaking the challenge of a lifetime – with the aim of raising enough money to bring home his critically ill little brother.

Around 11 weeks ago Mark’s brother, Matthew, was left at the roadside following a near-fatal motorcycle crash in Bali.

As Matthew did not have travel insurance the subsequent hospital bill has been running to many thousands of pounds a week.

Mark completed the swim from Dwarwick Pier to the Pavilion Restaurant, next to Thurso beach, as the first part of a fundraising bid called “The Quest” – an epic adventure which will now take him up the three highest peaks in the UK before he cycles over 500 miles from the family home in Derbyshire back to Thurso.

The 35-year-old completed the swim, despite some treacherous currents, in around three-and-a-half hours after getting in the water in semi-darkness at around 7.15am.

Mark was accompanied by fellow Quest team member David Spencer (45), from near Dounreay, and last-minute addition Wick man David Sutherland (55).

The three men came ashore to applause from the gathered spectators and as coffee was given out renowned local fiddler Karen Steven played her tune “Matty’s Appeal” which she penned as part of the fundraising bid.

Support for the challenge came from a small boat and six sea kayaks piloted by members of the Pentland Canoe Club, who fed and watered the swimmers on the way.

Anyone wanting to find out more or donate can visit: http://helpmathewtaylor.wordpress.com/

Alternatively, donations can be arranged through the Picture Box in Grove Lane or by phoning 01847 896900.

To find out what Mark thought of the swim check out Wednesday’s Caithness Courier.

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