5 of the best UK open water swim adventures

Want to dip out of your comfort zone and test yourself? Then why not dive into one of these open water swim challenges...

5 of the best UK open water swim adventures

FROG GRAHAM ROUND

Lake District

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You might have heard of the Bob Graham round – the brutal 42-peak loop of the Lake District – but the Frog Graham adds a watery dimension to the challenge, making it perfect for more experienced swimrun enthusiasts.

Split into four ‘legs’ and beginning and ending in Keswick, the round takes in lakes including Bassenthwaite, Crummock Water, Buttermere and Derwent Water as well as 40 miles of hike/runs up Lakeland peaks including Skiddaw, Grisedale Peak and Catbells. Most rounds are self-supported and, although a guide map is available, the exact route is up to you.

Make no mistake, this is a very tough challenge and only for those experienced in fell running, mountain navigation and open-water swimming. The FGR Club are also keen to stress the need to be sensitive to environmental concerns and biosecurity to protect the Lake District National Park from invasive species. Find out more at froggrahamround.co.uk

ROUND ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT

Cornwall

Cornwall’s surrounded by a stunning coastline, so why not see it from a different angle? Swimming round St Michael’s Mount gives you a swim of 2.5-3km (low or high tide) and Sea Swim Cornwall, who offer regular guided swims, tell us, “The best view of the Mount is from the back, as you can view the sub-tropical garden.” There are safety factors to consider and you need to be mindful of harbour traffic and tides, but visit seaswim cornwall.co.uk for more.

CROSS-COUNTRY SWIMMING

Nationwide

Find a swim adventure anywhere in the country (helpful with the easing of lockdown) by planning a spot of cross-country swimming. How does it work? Simply load up your kit on a Ruckraft (see kit panel, below), swim across your chosen stretch of water then wild camp under the stars before swimming back again the next day. Even if you’re only 10 miles from home, it’ll feel a world away. But if you want to explore further afield, we can recommend wildswimming.co.uk for inspiration.

 SOLENT SWIM

The Solent 

Ever dreamed of swimming the Channel, but daunted by the distance? We don’t blame you. But as a friendlier alternative, the Solent between England and the Isle of White offers a channel swim experience but is just three miles in length – long enough to challenge you, but not so long you need two years to prep. Guided swims are available on several 2021 dates if you’re able to raise a minimum sponsorship for the charity Aspire

SWIM A SWOOSH

Bantham and Barmouth

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Ever heard of ‘swooshing’? Traditionally these are swim races that incorporate a strong current that ‘swooshes’ you along, giving you free speed (and we know triathletes love that). Sadly, the Outdoor Swimming Society have cancelled their 2021 events at popular swoosh sites Bantham and Barmouth (though keep an eye out for 2022 as they always fill up fast), but local swim groups will still have the information you need to swim safely in the tides and currents. Plan a longer swim with a swoosh finish – or just turn up and do many swooshes for fun!