News In Depth
Fogle 'scared' by Atlantic swim
TV adventurer Ben Fogle admitted that he feels "scared" as he prepares for his most punishing challenge yet - swimming across the Atlantic Ocean.
The presenter said he will battle feelings of "solitude and loneliness" when he spends up to 12 hours a day in the water, swimming the equivalent of the Channel, to make it in his target of 100 days.
He will also face the risks of icebergs and sharks during his epic 3,000-mile (4,828km) journey from the US to Cornwall, which will dwarf the gruelling achievement of comic David Walliams who swam much of the Thames last year.
Fogle was joined by wife Marina and their two children, two-year-old Ludo and one-year-old Iona, for the launch of his challenge at the Serpentine lake in London's Hyde Park, the venue for the Open Water Swim at the Olympic Games.
The 38-year-old said: "It's something I've always dreamed of doing but I never knew if it was possible or not.
"It's a massive challenge, easily the biggest thing I've ever done. I'm not a particularly competent or confident swimmer but I love the ocean and I love a big challenge. It genuinely is into the realm of the unknown.
"It does scare me because I really don't know what is going to happen. Only one person has done this but that is what attracted me towards this.
"I do need adventure. Some people don't quite understand that, but it's the only thing I'm good at. Spending long times pushing myself mentally and physically.
"Solitude and loneliness will be the biggest obstacles. Psychologically it will be very hard. Then of course there is the physical damage on the shoulders and the arms, salt burn, icebergs, sharks - all of those things are factors as well."
Fogle's previous escapades have included rowing across the Atlantic with friend and Olympic star James Cracknell, as well as racing to the South Pole, which led to him suffering frostbite to his nose.
The TV daredevil has also competed in the Marathon Des Sables and has swum from San Francisco to Alcatraz.
He will undergo a tough training schedule over the coming months in preparation for his Atlantic swim in 2013.
Only one other person has completed the ocean swim, and Fogle will be accompanied by a support yacht for sleeping and eating. He will log his starting and stopping points each day to ensure he swims the full distance.
His journey will also aid homeless charity Centrepoint as he gives several young homeless volunteers the skills and opportunities to work on the project as both his short support team and yacht crew.
His body will also carry sensors to allow scientists from the University of Southampton to do research into temperatures, currents and marine organisms.
And he will work with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Plastic Oceans Foundation to use the trip to highlight the fragile state of the seas.
Fogle - who first found fame as a participant in the BBC series Castaway in which he lived on the island of Taransay - said: "You get out of life what you put in and the greatest achievements come from the biggest challenges.
"If I can complete it, it will be the culmination of a childhood dream and the completion of an Atlantic circle that began in the North Atlantic in 2000 where I spent the year on Taransay.
"Having rowed east to west, I will complete the circle by swimming west to east back home to Cornwall."
Seyi Obakin, chief executive of Centrepoint - which works with 1,200 young people each year - said: "Being part of Ben's team and entrusted with new responsibilities will be life-changing for the young people who join him.
"It will inspire them to face challenges of their own, including finding a job and moving on to independent living."
Louise Heaps, head of marine at WWF-UK, said: "Our seas are under severe pressure from overfishing as well as unsustainable and poorly planned development, and WWF is proud to support our ambassador Ben's challenge to raise awareness around the issues affecting our seas and to highlight the pressing need to safeguard the future of these and other marine species and the diverse ecosystems that support them."
Fogle - who was a torch bearer on the first day of the Olympic torch relay across the UK - added: "I hope the swim will continue to inspire people to push their boundaries, to aspire and to achieve.
"I hope that it captures the imagination, reminding us that adventures can still be had."
Fogle said the ocean was inseparably linked to his life and career.
He said: "My career started in the Atlantic Ocean in the Outer Hebrides when we were marooned for a year and it then took another turn when I rowed the Atlantic with James Cracknell.
"I think for an island nation we've lost our affinity to the ocean and I want to recreate that."
Fogle has already travelled to the Azores in the North Atlantic to train and will also do some of his training swimming in the Solent.
The exact starting point and date of the swim will be dependent on the weather and ocean conditions.
Further details will be at the website www.theatlanticswim.com.
what do you think?
Hats off to Ben for doing this for charity. I would love to know who is paying for his 100 days at sea... who pays for his protection whilst swimming? Me thinks this is another case of "Arise Sir Ben"
Maybe he gets himself sponsored. Methinks it's another case of the green eye monster.
okay... who is sponsoring him. There hasnt been any news of that. Jealous... you have to be joking. You have missed my point somewhere along the line.
Sorry, but a little bored now by all of his antics. Don't quite know what he is trying to prove - maybe just keep his profile in the public eye. What he should remember is that he has a wife and child and should maybe think a little more of them instead of how he can next risk his life !
Maybe he gets up in the morning and thinks what he can do, to make his life as interesting as possible. Instead of looking back and saying i wish i had the balls to do that. Got to be better than just criticising others, for having an adventurous life, or for trying to live. Having a wife and child isn't the whole point of life. I bet his missus wouldn't be attracted to him, if he just spent his days pulling down other people.
like I have already said Lynn.... He is after a gong for his charity work... nothing else in it for him. I still would like to know who is paying for his protection?
Rather him than me. I can't swim.
Why doesn't he try swimming the Irish Sea first?
There's got to be a joke in there somewhere.
Ben Fogle is going down the same path as Steve Irwin SAD.
I wonder whether he is planning to use the Gulf Stream to speed him on his way. Frankly, I think he is going to struggle to make any progress in the heavy mid-Atlantic swell and I bet life on his escort vessel will be pretty uncomfortable, even if it is bigger than a cross-Channel escort boat.
crazy idea , all very well, but putting your life at risk , not the best idea
Another pointless stunt from this idiot. Tell me again why he's famous?
Why bother,it's just another stunt to be famous. I'm bored with this sort of stupidity.I'm going back to bed!
"Scared", "solitude and loneliness", "sharks", "icebergs". Just a few words that jumped out at the start of the article. If he's that scared and it's that hazardous, why not take a boat or a plane? I do know he's also doing it for many commendable reasons but it's just another "look at me" thing really, which will be soooooo expensive.
Somerset Council isn't going to allow this one. Health and Safety will have a fit.