Weather scuppers Blue Peter challenge

Lindsey Russell still received a warm welcome in Portpatrick despite failing to complete her Sport Relief challenge
Lindsey Russell still received a warm welcome in Portpatrick despite failing to complete her Sport Relief challenge

A bid by a Blue Peter presenter to cross the North Channel from Northern Ireland to Portpatrick on the Galloway coast in a giant inflatable ball has failed.

Presenter Lindsey Russell couldn’t complete the challenge because of bad weather.

Lindsey came within a few miles of the Scottish coast this afternoon when weather conditions forced her to give up.

The 25-year-old arrived at Portpatrick Harbour where she was greeted by locals and visitors who had hoped to see her complete the 20-mile short sea crossing which is also famous for swimmers trying to cross.

She was aiming to Zorb across the channel to raise money for Sport Relief and has been in training for months for the attempt.

Lindsey had left Donaghadee in Northern Ireland at first light and had hoped to be in Portpatrick around tea time.

Her time was estimated at around 12 to 14 hours but a change in wind direction meant she couldn’t continue as she was moving sideways and into the rising wind.

A Sports Relief spokesman said: “The challenge was always going to be incredibly hard and zorbing many miles across the Irish Channel is a huge achievement.

“Whilst we were, in the end, defeated by the weather, we are incredibly proud of Lindsey and her efforts.”

Lindsey had travelled around 17 miles across the water when she was forced to quit but she was given a rousing welcome when she arrived at Portpatrick.

Locals had gathered at the harbour to cheer her and a tear full Lindsey met her family.

Her dad Trevor said he was very proud of what Lindsey had done but she had to give in to the weather.

The presenter has taken part in other challenges before like the London Marathon and the Swiss Army’s Mountain Marathon.

To train for the event, Lindsey put in a lot of training with Professor Greg Whyte to ensure that she was as fit as possible.

Before embarking on the journey, Lindsey knew that the weather would play an important role.

She said: “The most daunting part of this challenge has always been how heavily we are relying on the weather.

“I’ve been training for months for what will be the biggest and best challenge of my life, but I don’t think anything can prepare me for what the Irish Sea has in store.

“Something I do know is that I’ll give it everything I’ve got – I am so determined to make it to Scotland and I hope it inspires everyone watching to get up and get involved with Sport Relief this year.”

The Wave Runner challenge will air on 17 March on the CBBC channel as part of Sport Relief.