This is your holiday not an intensive training camp! We want you to enjoy yourself, no matter how strenuous or relaxed you want your holiday to be. If you want to swim a hard 10km set every day, that’s great, but if you just want to do a few hundred metres then stop, that’s what we will do.
The swim tours each have a set minimum distance, which is important as you need to know what is required on any day. However there are opportunities for more flexible swimming – depending on your level of confidence and exactly how far you want to swim. If you are not water confident then we will help you overcome any fears, and if you are happy just floating around in the shallows, that’s also OK.
We operate with a maximum of six to 15 swimmers per trip, which helps us to get to know you and, importantly, to keep you safe in the water! All our tours are covered by fully qualified coaches and guides and with kayak support. We also believe that by keeping the group small we can help each individual to improve their technique and awareness of the water.
Of course! Everyone was an open water virgin at some point in their lives and while they may now seem to take to it like ducks in the water, in the beginning they would have been just as nervous as you may be.
When we are swimming we use the buddy method, and by swimming next to each other we can help encourage those who are new to the sport. We can also arrange a one to one session on the day before a swim to alleviate your fears.
This is a holiday and we want you to enjoy the Lake District while you are with us - that can’t be done with your head down going at top speed. You won’t be pushed into swimming at any speed faster than you are happy with, but we find that, for many clients our coaching helps to improve technique and speed.
We are based in Keswick, 'The Adventure Capital of the Lake District'. If your companion likes walking, scrambling, ghyll scrambling, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, sailing, fishing or even paragliding, these are available, along with many more activities including retail therapy! On many of our tours your companions can join us for refreshments, for a small charge. Keswick was also voted the Best Dog Friendly Town in the UK for 2015, but we ask that dogs are kept on leads at all times to avoid disturbing the local wildlife and farm animals.
If you let us know before the holiday we will ensure all your needs are catered for, and we will provide gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian alternatives at our swim venues. We will also source accommodation and restaurants suitable throughout your stay.
Of course we can, just tell us your food phobias and we will do our utmost to ensure your are catered for. Everyone has certain foods they don't like and it is our business to make sure no one starves throughout their stay with us.
You'll be glad to know that there is plenty of great accommodation to be had throughout the locality, from camping to 5* Hotels. We will ensure that your accommodation is within your budget and represents the best value for money.
Not all Open Water swimmers use wetsuits, but if you decide to do without one we may ask you to sign a waiver form.
The temperature of the lakes does not rise above 12°C until late April, and although the water is much warmer in the summer months, there are occasionally very cold days in the water.
Please, please, please don’t buy a wetsuit without trying it on first!
Wetsuit manufacturers have different sizing policies and varying ‘fits’ so that cheap option from an online retailer may prove to be no bargain – it may be cheaper to have a suit made-to-measure. We can advise you on manufacturers and the best places to buy.
While we do not hire wetsuits, we do have several swimming wetsuits available to use on the day. However, we don’t stock all sizes and therefore it may well be best to borrow one that fits from a friend first before committing to purchasing one.
This is one question we can’t answer for you as it depends on the quality of your wetsuit and your tolerance of cold water.
A well made 3mm suit which fits you like a glove is going to be better than one borrowed from a friend whose build is different, meaning that the suit could leak in cold water.
Wearing neoprene hats, gloves and boots are also good insulators for what are your extremities.
During the swim it is best to bring a neoprene hat, gloves, boots, swimsuits, ear plugs, wetsuit and goggles. We will supply you with swim hat and tow float, where necessary.
After the swims you will need a warm hat, a warm top without any buttons or zips, warm trousers (again without any buttons or zips), and a couple of towels, plus a bag to keep them in. You will also need shoes or trainers – slip-ons are ideal.
We will send you out a full list once you have booked, so don't worry too much if you can't remember all of this.
Yes, you will need comprehensive travel insurance cover, and this MUST cover open water swimming - if in doubt, ask your insurance broker about policy exclusions.
We are happy to take children over 12 years on most of our swims, but we would have to adjust the distances as children cool down faster than adults and their wetsuits tend to be a poor fit.
Children MUST be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian at all times, including in the water, and suitable insurance cover must be arranged.
As long as we understand the problems we can accommodate any swimmer. Our extensive knowledge of the Lake District enables us to design swims with individual needs in mind, and there is disabled access to many of the lakes. Open water swimmers like to feel the wind about our bodies, and there are no changing or toilet facilities at many of our swim locations. Please get in touch if this presents a problem as we can make alternative arrangements in most cases. If you have a carer, there is a 50% reduction in fees for the carer.
We will need to complete a Health Questionnaire prior to booking, where we can assess your medical needs, but you are wholly responsible for keeping and administering your own medication, including injections and the use of epi-pens. Please remember that in this rural area, access to dispensaries can be limited, so make sure that you have adequate supplies of your medication to hand.
Swim on the Wild Side is the Lake District's only swimming holiday operator offering fully coached activities with a qualified and experienced coach.
All of our swims are fully risk assessed, insured and we abide by the strict environmental rules laid down by the Lake District National Park, following the 'Ditch the Hitchers' campaign.
Want to make a booking? We’ll be happy to devise a schedule to fit your plans where possible just click here to visit our calendar.
Need more information? Dive into our Any Questions page here.