Sark, Channel Islands

James Lighthill (1924?-1998) was an accomplished long-distance swimmer and used his hydrodynamic knowledge to plot his routes. In 1973, he was the first person to swim around the Channel Island of Sark. I once heard him on the radio describing this hobby and he said he once went around Stromboli while it was erupting, which led to occasional detours to avoid being boiled. On 17 July 1998, he was making his seventh circumnatation of Sark when he died some nine hours into his circuit. However the wind and currents carried his body back to the point he started from, showing that his planned circuit was correct. He was posthumously awarded the RS Copley Medal for 1998.

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An extract from The Mathematical Gazetteer of the British Isles created by David Singmaster

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