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PICTURES: Polish extreme swimmer Piotr Biankowski to take on epic challenge for Ronald McDonald foundation by swimming Loch Ness in a bid to get bed for the parents of sick children back in his homeland


By Alan Shields

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Piotr proudly displaying the Polish flag,
Piotr proudly displaying the Polish flag,

An extreme swimmer is to brave the chilly waters of Loch Ness in a bid to raise money for a good cause.

Piotr Biankowski (47) hopes to swim the length of the legendary stretch of water in order to help the Ronald McDonald Foundation back in his native Poland.

He hopes to raise thousands of pounds to provide beds for parents of children that have been admitted to hospital.

Alexsandra Kabelis, Piotr Biankowski and Kevin Murphy preparing for the swim.
Alexsandra Kabelis, Piotr Biankowski and Kevin Murphy preparing for the swim.

His previous feats of endurance including swimming the English channel last year in just over 15 hours for the same charity, which he is an ambassador for.

If successful with his 23-mile Loch Ness adventure he is expected to be the first Polish man ever to complete the dangerous swim.

He will be accompanied by English Channel swimming veteran Kevin Murphy as his pilot along with his friend and fellow open water swimmer Aleksandra Kabelis, who also comes from Gdynia near the Baltic Sea.

Weather dependent, Piotr plans to set off at 6am on Tuesday morning.

Alexsandra Kabelis and Piotr Biankowski overlooking Loch Ness ahead of the challenge.
Alexsandra Kabelis and Piotr Biankowski overlooking Loch Ness ahead of the challenge.

Aleksandra said: “Loch Ness is one of the most mysterious lakes from around the world.

“No-one from Poland has ever done this swim before so Piotr will be the first Polish man to do it.

“We were due to go do a swim in Lake Baikal, Russia, but we had to cancel it because of the Ukraine situation and we decided to do this instead.”

She added: “We will probably be starting at Loch End depending on the wind. It may be Fort Augustus if the wind changes.

“He’s really looking forward to it.

“We’ve had some open water training but it’s going to be a huge challenge.

“The water is so cold.”

Piotr psyching himself up ahead of the 23 mile swim.
Piotr psyching himself up ahead of the 23 mile swim.

Despite the forecast being one of the hottest days of the year, the water temperature is expected to be around 14-15 degrees Celsius.

Piotr expects the hardest element of the challenge will be the cold.

However he has form for braving the chill – being one of the organisers of the Gdynia Winter Swimming Cup competition.

The money raised will be used to purchase beds that will allow patients to stay comfortably overnight with their children in hospital.

Aleksandra (29) said: “This year the collection is to purchase beds for the parents of sick children so that they can watch over their children in comfortable conditions.

“We want to give them to the hospitals in Gdynia – this is Piotr’s hometown – and Wejherowo which is a city nearby.

“We assumed that we would buy three beds but so far the collection has reached over 6000 Polish zlote – which means we can buy at least four beds.”

Donations can be made online here.

His progress can also be followed on his social media page.

Anyone who makes a donation of more than 250 zloty will receive a handmade Nessie soft toy.

Each one is made by prisoners on remand in Gdansk who signed up to be Ronald McDonald Foundation volunteers.

Helen Zollinger, community fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK in Scotland said: “We were delighted to learn that Piotr has chosen Scotland for his next amazing fundraising challenge, and we wish him all the very best as he attempts to become the first Pole in history to swim across Loch Ness.

“Ronald McDonald House Charities has a shared global vision to help families with sick children in hospital stay close to each other when they need it most.

"Our programmes, which run in 64 countries, support families by providing stability and the vital resources they need to focus on what’s most important – their child."


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