A TEAM of Brownsea Island staff and volunteers are in training to take part in the gruelling Round Island Swim, raising funds for the National Trust.

It takes place on Sunday, July 13, and a record 300 swimmers will be dipping their toes in the harbour for the swim whose full distance is 6.5k.

Reuben Hawkwood, head ranger on the island, said: “It is daunting for all of us, as we are not regular swimmers and the training is tough.

“We are lucky to be able to train around the island itself but my knowledge of the tides and how they can hold you back has made me even more nervous.”

The team will be plunging in with all the other swimmers for the event, which is held by RLSS Poole Lifeguards in association with the National Trust.

It has grown in popularity over the years and swimmers come from all over the UK and beyond to take part in the Poole Harbour swim.

They are hoping to raise a good sum for the National Trust to help necessary work on its popular island.

“This year we have had a lot of work to do, restoring the island after a very difficult winter, that caused destruction and erosion all along the shorelines and into the woodlands,” said Angela Cott, pictured left, general manager on Brownsea Island.

“It is great to know that as a team, the funds we hope to raise will enable us to carry on our great work and provide new ways for visitors to access and enjoy this beautiful island,” she added.

The popularity of the swim led to organisers increasing numbers by 25 this year.

It took just three hours for 360 people to sign up when the form went up on the RLSS Poole Lifeguards website – and the reserve list is also closed.