The Menai Strait Swim

Join us for this unique and rare opportunity to swoosh for 6.5km down the stunning Menai Strait, the narrow and dangerous channel of sea that separates the Island of Anglesey from mainland North Wales! We will guide you safely through the bubbling ‘Swellies’, under the two historic bridges and show you stunning views and a variety of wildlife in this beautiful, Special Area of Conservation.

 

The Menai Strait

The Menai Strait, or Afon Menai as it is known locally, is the 16 mile long sea channel that separates Anglesey from mainland Wales. It is connected to the mainland by Thomas Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge built 194 years ago. It is grade one listed and a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Robert Stephenson’s Britannia Bridge also connects the island, by road and by rail, a little further along the strait.  

The Strait varies in width from about 400m to three quarters of a mile. The name ‘Menai’ comes from Welsh main-aw, meaning ‘narrow water.’ The central region (between the two bridges) is known as the ‘Swellies’; this is a unique environment with strong, reversing tidal flows (sometimes reaching speeds of 4 metres per second), rapid currents and swirling whirlpools. The Strait also has many small, offshore islands, and rocks close to the surface of the water that. need to be navigated. It is a very dangerous place to swim without expert guidance!

The Strait is part of the Menai Strait and Conwy Special Area of Conservation (SAC), with a rich variety of habitats including sea inlets and estuaries, mud and sand flats, lagoons, salt marsh, shingle beaches, lofty sea cliffs and submerged limestone reefs. The Strait’s inner shores are teaming with sea life, such as bristle worms, rock-boring sponges, colonies of breadcrumb sponges exist, a variety of crabs, crustaceans, fish and jelly fish. The Menai Strait is home to a wide variety of shore and wading birds, such as little egret, oystercatcher, curlew and redshank. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a seal or harbour porpoise hunting and playing in the tidal races.

The Lowdown:

Total distance: 6.5km
Price: £90pp (+£5 booking fee)
Meeting location: Y Felinheli
Places 
available: 12 people max

Dates:

Sunday 6th September 2020
Time: 12 to 15.30

Entry by application – please fill in the form below after reading all the information.

Covid-19 info: currently all dates are going ahead. For information on our cancellation policy please see Terms and Conditions at the bottom of the page.

It’s not a race!

This is a guided swimming challenge, not a race, so there will be no medal for you at the end, but you will take away with you some fantastic memories, some new friends, and a big smile! It is imperative for safety that we all stay together and move at the same pace. You will not be allowed to swim off ahead and no one will be left behind! Believe us, you’ll want to go as slowly as possible to make the most of every minute you have in this unique environment!

We will provide the following:

The ratio of safety crew to swimmers will be 5:12

  • Qualified Guides: You’ll have no worries about getting lost, just relax and enjoy your surroundings and the swim!
  • Transport to the start: We will bus you to the start of the swim and we will swim back to the location of your cars.
  • Water safety & support: We will have a power boat driven by crew experienced in negotiation the waters of the Strait. We will also have an experienced safety kayaker who will guide you through the tricky sections and a tail end guide to keep an eye on everyone and make sure we all stay together. If you get too tired or too cold to finish the swim you will be able to get into the support boat to finish the journey.
  • First Aid: Guides are first aid trained and will be carrying first aid kits.

Pace, Ability & Experience

You MUST have previous experience of sea swimming in rough conditions and be a very confident and strong swimmer. 

This swim is a serious, committing and dangerous undertaking. You will be asked to supply evidence of your swimming ability before your entry will be accepted. You must supply this evidence within 24hrs of submitting the form. If it has not been received your application will be rejected.

To take part in this swim you should:
Be able to swim at a minimum speed of 1km per 20 minutes with no rests
– Be able to swim a minimum of 3km in one go with minimal rest.
Have experience of swimming in rough sea conditions and fast flowing water and be very happy and confident in this environment.

Being used to sea swimming in rough conditions is very important – you must be comfortable with the salt water, low water visibility, waves and strong currents. The tides in the straits are very strong and fast so you need to be a very confident and strong swimmer. At times you will be required to swim fast, navigate across the channel of water, sometimes fighting currents and whirlpools. This requires speed and strength. There is no opportunity to stop and rest in the swim (other than get in the boat which will only be an option in as a last resort), so you need to be able to swim the whole distance non-stop.

Although it is a 6.5km swim the fast current will carry us a long way so it will actually be more like half the distance. BUT, you do need to swim, you can’t just float along!

The swimming speed of the members of the group will vary so please be aware that you may not be traveling as fast as you might if you were swimming alone! The emphasis is on keeping going, not speed! The pace will be dictated by the guide, taking into account the ability of the group as a whole. You will need a good level of fitness to take part and will need to keep moving at a good pace to keep warm. If you struggle during the event and this begins to impact on the well being of the rest of the group we will politely ask you to get into the support boat.

Equipment required:

Wetsuit and tow float are compulsory – NO EXCEPTIONS

Compulsory kit:
– Wetsuit: Full or shortie (we recommend full as we could be in the water for a while and there may be jellyfish)
– Brightly coloured swimming specific tow float
– Brightly coloured swimming hat (red/orange/yellow/pink)

We recommend you wear/carry:
– Thermal/insulating layers underneath: rash vests or neoprene vests
– Neoprene accessories – gloves, socks, hat
– Googles
– Energy gel

How to enter

Entry to the Menai Strait Swim is by application. This is so that we can be sure that you have the necessary swimming ability and experience to complete the swim safely and to enjoy it! Please fill in the form below and then email us supporting evidence of your swimming ability. This can be in the form of recent official race results (you must provide a link to online results or forward an offical results email), a letter or email from your swim coach or swim club including a phone number for verification, or other evidence of similar types of swims completed. Strava or other gps files may be considered but must contain information about location, distance, time and water and weather conditions.

You must send this evidence within 24 hours of submitting the form or your application will be rejected. Entries will be alloted on a first come (form AND evidence submitted) first served. Final decisions on acceptability of experience and evidence is the decision of Love SwimRun Ltd. The decision of Love SwimRun Ltd. is final and no disputes will be entered into. Please be aware that filling in the application form does NOT guarantee you an offer of any entry to the swim. 

If your application is accepted you will be sent an email with a link to offically enter the Menai Strait Swim. You will have 24 hours to complete your official entry before it is passed onto the next person in line.

Further Information

Further information on kit and logistics on the day will be available once you have entered.

 

Enter The Menai Strait Swim!

To enter the Menai Strait Swim, please fill in the form below and then email your evidence to challenge@loveswimrun.co.uk

Please describe the experience you have that will allow you to complete the Menai Strait Swim. Include any links to your evidence if applicable and email further evidence to challenge@loveswimrun.co.uk.

Booking Terms and Conditions

Participants must be age 18+ to take part in The Menai Straits Swim.

By entering The Menai Straits Swim you accept awareness of and agree to the following:

  • I am aware of the risks and hazards associated with or related to participating in this swim, including but not limited to, cold water, potential un-clement weather, difficult, technical and hazardous water, remote location.
  • I have been made aware of the swim water temperature. I agree it is solely my decision on whether to undertake the swim sections and I will not hold the organisers responsible in any way for any claims that may arise.
  • I confirm that all my equipment is in good working order and accept that is has been my decision to wear my chosen clothing having been made aware of the potential conditions and temperatures encountered during the swim.
  • I agree that the organisers/guides may request that I retire from the swim should they believe that continuing will impact on my own well being or the safety of the other member of the group. I agree to retire if asked to do so.
  • I have sole responsibility for my personal possessions and all equipment during the event
  • I attest that I am physically fit, have sufficient sea swimming experience and can complete this swim. I have supplied authentic and truthful evidence of my swimming ability to support my entry application.
  • I will inform the organisers and guides of any physical conditions that may impact on my ability to complete the route or pose a problem during the challenge.
  • I will comply with the rules and the terms and conditions of this swim and any instructions I am given.
  • I understand and agree to the Route Changes and Cancellation Policy: I agree that the organiser retains the right to change the route at any time, before or during the event, for safety or logistical reasons. (Please see Route Changes and Cancellation Policy)
  • I grant full permission for Love SwimRun to use my image in photographs for future marketing and on social media.
  • I agree that participation in this swim is at my own risk.
  • I indemnify the organisers and guides against any claims that may possibly result from participation in this swim. I also indemnify the organisers and guides for any and all consequences which may ensue as a result of this participation.
  • I agree to the no Refunds Policy and understand the limited Transfer Options and indemnify the organisers for any travel, accommodation or other expenses incurred as a result of the cancellation.

Route Changes and Cancellation Policy

The Menai Strait swim will take place only when the safety of all involved is not comprised by weather or the event of circumstances beyond our control, if either of these circumstances results in us cancelling for safety reasons, complications with the venue or other or unforeseen circumstances, we will do either of the following:
a) Amend the route or change the location within reason to ensure a safe and enjoyable event
or
b) When the event cannot be held safely due to particular conditions – we will cancel the event. Where an event is changed to some extent under condition ‘a’ above, no refund will be applicable. In the event of a cancellation under condition ‘b’ above, participants will be given a refund (minus any administration and organisational costs already incurred (e.g. non refundable deposits for booking the safety crew)).

Any other costs incurred by the participant including but not limited to travel and accommodation will not be covered by Love SwimRun Ltd. We recommend you take out insurance to cover these expenses.

Refunds and Transfers

No refunds are available once an entry has been received.
You may transfer your place to another person wishing to take part in the Menai Strait Swim. This must be done at least 2 days prior to the event and they must be approved as suitable by Love SwimRun Ltd. after submitting evidence of their swim ability/experience. The decision of Love SwimRun Ltd is final and no dispute will be entered into. If we have not received this information 2 days before the swim date Love SwimRun Ltd. will not accept the transfer.