Stoke Newington TV presenter Gaz Top takes on epic Welsh swim challenge
- Credit: Cwmni Da
Stoke Newington TV star Gaz Top tackled two-metre waves and some of the wildest Welsh bodies of water in a 60km swim challenge.
Gareth Jones, known by viewers as Gaz Top, lives in Hackney and is known for presenting children's programmes like How 2 with Fred Dinenage and Carol Vorderman, Get Fresh and the Big Bang.
Originally from Wales, the swim challenge to celebrate his 60th birthday took him across the country's seas, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
Gareth, whose nickname Gaz Top came from his early days as a roadie with Welsh rockers The Alarm, has always been a strong swimmer.
He said: “Basically I’m a frog from the waist down.
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"I have got flat feet so I can’t run but I can swim and this idea of doing this to mark my 60th came about because I wanted to reconnect with Wales, the land that made me, after so long living in London."
The presenter's project, which was filmed, has been made into a three-part television series produced by Caernarfon-based international TV company Cwmni Da.
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The series, called Gareth Jones: Nofio Adre (Gareth Jones: Swimming Home), will air on Welsh-language channel S4C this month, with the first programme going out at 9pm on October 29.
Gareth's adventures in Wales saw him bodysurf ashore in Porthcawl and suffer severe stomach cramps near Llanelli, two days into the challenge.
He said: “I don’t know whether I swallowed water or ate something dodgy but after two hours of cramps I threw up and that carried on through the night.
“I just had no strength. I couldn’t get out of bed, never mind into the water. I just had to rehydrate and eat and the next morning I felt fine and was able to carry on.”
To get the energy to fuel his efforts he was advised by nutrition experts from Bangor University to gorge up 5,000 calories a day.
His eating regime consisted of a massive breakfast bowl of muesli kicking off a daily intake of carbohydrates and protein that was rounded off by a starter, two main courses and a pudding each evening.
Gareth added: “We met some great people along the way too and we heard some wonderful stories about Wales.”
Find out more about Gareth's adventures at www.garethjones.tv/nofioadre.html