Craig Clarke - Coals to Newcastle

Catherine Hill Bay to Nobbys Beach

30.5 km (19.0 miles)

11 hours, 53 minutes on 26 August 2020

Observed and documented by Michelle Brewer




  • Name: Craig Clarke
  • Gender: male
  • Age on swim date: 55
  • Nationality: Australia
  • Resides: Merewether, New South Wales

Support Personnel

  • Paul Clarke - skipper
  • Paul Hunter - feeder
  • Michelle Brewer - observer

Escort Vessel

Name Type Port
Haines 6.8m Newcastle

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: textile briefs, swim cap, goggles

Route Definition


No known previous swims of this route.

Swim Data

  • Start: 26 August 2020, 06:00 (Australia/Sydney, UTC10).
  • Finish: 26 August 2020, 17:53
  • Elapsed: 11 hours, 53 minutes.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (C) 15.5 16
Air Temp (C) 6.5 17.1
Wind (kph) 9 22

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 30 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

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Speed Plot

Nutrition: Mix of powders with 300ml of water at 45 minutes frequency.

Observer Log

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In the first week of July 2020, I had a flight booked to London to fulfill my long held dream of swimming the English Channel. But every COVID cloud has a silver lining.

Using over 100 years of history in my home town of Newcastle combined with my coal mining, surf club and ocean swimming background, I have come up with my own local version of the English Channel. In planning this swim I have combined as many of the challenges faced in the English Channel as possible including the complete one way distance, sea temperature, air temperature and guidance using a support boat.

This 36km swim from the coal loading jetty at Catherine Hill Bay to Nobbys lighthouse passing 9 local surf life savings clubs follows the path taken by the MV Wallarah shipping coal to Newcastle and has consequently been christened my “Coals to Newcastle” swim.

My authority approved swim will take place in the last week of August when the ocean temperature is expected to be around 16 degrees. In line with the strict rules governing the English Channel I will be wearing just a normal pair of swimmers covering between the waist and crotch, a single swimming cap and goggles. From a reliable local historian, this swim has not been done or attempted previously.

I will also be raising money for charity doing the swim and proudly supporting the much needed mental health support charity Beyond Blue.


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Newcastle Herald: Marathon swimmer Craig Clarke reaches Nobbys after almost 12 hours in the water

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