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Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh faces race against time to complete challenge

Lewis Pugh is nearing the end of his 350 mile swim from Land's End to Dover. Credit: The Long Swim

An adventurer from Plymouth is set to complete his epic challenge to swim from Land's End to Dover in 50 days this Wednesday. It is a feat never attempted before.

48-year-old Lewis Pugh set off from Sennen Cove in mid-July and has been swimming the 348 mile challenge without a wetsuit as part of a campaign to help preserve the world's oceans - and to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

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Lewis just has to swim past one final hurdle - a headland at Dungeness before he arrives at his destination - Shakespeare Beach in Dover - but he's had to battle the elements to do so.

I tried two days ago. I wasn't successful. We went out yesterday (Sunday) but I wasn't even able to get into the water. But I'm going to go back again tonight and try and get around this headland which is the last hurdle, which I have to round before finally I get to Dover.

– Lewis Pugh
Lewis Pugh was stung by countless jellyfish during his swim. Credit: The Long Swim

He's been wearing just Speedos, a cap and goggles – the permitted kit of English Channel swimmers - which has made him vulnerable to jellyfish. He's been stung by countless numbers of them - which has also slowed him down in his swim. He says it was particularly bad around Plymouth.

The problem with jellyfish was certainly the pain of being stung in your face or underneath your armpits or in your groin as happened all too frequently but also because it slowed the swim down so much.

Because when you see jellyfish ahead of you, you naturally slow down and instead of swimming at 4km an hour through those blooms I was only swimming at 1km an hour.

– Lewis Pugh

Lewis reported worryingly low numbers of fish throughout his "Long Swim". Lewis says three factors are to blame - over-fishing, climate change, and the sheer volume of single use plastics that end up in the seas around Britain.

If he makes it in time, Lewis is due to meet the Environment Secretary Michael Gove in Dover at noon on Wednesday 29 August when he will raise the issues and campaign for change to protect the future of the seas and sea life.