The BIG Bala Swim, North Wales, UK
5th June 2021
All aboard the swim train!
Catch the historic stream train along the shores of Llyn Tegid, Wales’ largest natural lake, to start your swim! Surrounded by the beautiful Aran, Arenig and Berwyn mountain ranges, the lake has suberb views and plenty of wildlife to spot along the way.
Entries are closed
Entries are currently closed. Until we have a better idea of the Covid-19 situation next year, and if or how our swim events will run, we are unable to take any further entries. Hopefully by spring we will have a better idea what will be possible and will be able to release further entries then. Please keep a eye on this page and on social media for updates. We apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience.
The BIG Bala Swim (Not to be confused with our other event, The Big Welsh Swim) will take place in Llyn Tegid, Bala, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. The main open water swim route is 4.5km. To reach the start you will catch the historic Bala Lake Railway to Llangower station where you’ll find the beach start. For those that want a bigger challenge we also have a 9km swim that takes in two lenses of the 4.5km course. We have a shorter swim option of 1.5km as well that is open to children of 8 years upwards (must be accompanied on the swim by a fee paying adult).
Wetsuit and non-wetsuit places are available!
location: Llyn Tegid, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales.
Registration: Clwb Rygbi Y Bala, Maes Gwyniad, Tegid Street, Bala, LL23 7DZ
- 1.5km (you will not catch the train for this swim)
- 9km (you will not catch the train for this swim)
Cut off time: There is a cut off time of 4.5 hours for all distances. The race organisers and appointed staff can retire a participant at any time if they judge them not capable of finishing due to fatigue or poor physical condition.
Online entry opens: 5th July 2020
Online entry closes: 30th May 2021. (No entry changes can be made after this time)
You must be over 16 years of age on the day of the race to enter the event. Children aged 8 and above can complete the 1.5km swim if accompanied in the water by an fee paying adult who will take complete responsibility for them.
Entries will be opened in 3 staggered waves for 2021 and there will be no waiting list available. Please read our terms and conditions (updated for 2021) carefully before entering.
- 1.5km: Adult £48.50 / Junior (age 15 & under) £32.50 (no train included)
- 4.5km: £64.50 (includes train ticket)
- 9km: £75 (no train included)
Entry fee includes:
- Full water safety cover
- Train ticket (for 4.5km swim only)
- Event swim hat
- Electronic timing
- Food and hydration after event (see feed station info)
- Race souvenir
- Free event photos
- Prize for winners in each distance category – supplied by Zone3 & Love SwimRun
Mandatory equipment for wetsuit competitors
- Swim hats supplied by event organisers must be worn at all times when in the water
- Neoprene Wetsuit (unless registered as a non-wetsuit participant)
- Tow floats may be used but are not mandatory for wetsuit wearing participants
Mandatory equipment for non-wetsuit competitors
- Suitable swimwear (shorts style suits and rash vests are acceptable. No neoprene other than that listed below)
- Swim hats supplied by event organisers must be worn at all times when in the water
- Tow float (must be a dedicated swimming tow float)
Additional equipment that may be used: Neoprene socks and non-webbed neoprene gloves, neoprene hat (worn under event swim cap), ear plugs
Additional equipment that may NOT be used: Snorkles, flippers, hand paddles, webbed gloves, headphones, pull buoy or any other floation aids, any power assisted aids.
Registration will take place: Bala Rugby Club/Clwb Rygbi Y Bala, Maes Gwyniad, Tegid Street, Bala, LL23 7DX,
You will be issued with your event hat and timing chip. Please arrive as early as possible! If you do not arrive to register by the closing time your place will be forfeited.
The compulsory briefing will be held at TBC at Bala Rugby Club. Anyone who does not attend the briefing will not be allowed to swim. 4.5km swimmers will then make a 5 minute walk to board the train which will leave promptly at 10.00am so will need to be ready to leave straight after the briefing. If you miss the train you will need to make your own way to the swim start. 1.5km swimmers will make a 10 minute walk to their swim start. Participants doing a 1.5km swim do not need to catch the train.
Parking is availabe at Bala Rugby Club/Clwb Rygbi Y Bala, Maes Gwyniad, Tegid Street, Bala, LL23 7DZ at £3 for the day. Other carparks close by are pay and display (approx £5 for the day). Disabled parking is available but cannot be reserved. Please do not park on the roads or cause any obstructions to access or gate ways.
There will be a place for 1.5km and 9km swimmers to leave shoes/1 SMALL bag close to the swim start. 4.5km swimmers may take shoes/1 SMALL bag with them on the train and this will be transported by van to the finish line to be picked up at the end of your swim. Please only leave essential items and do not place fragile or valuable items in the bag drop as we cannot take repsonsibility for them.
Provisional schedule of events
(Times will be confirmed in the event handbook which will be released one month before the event)
07:30 Registration opens
09:15 Registration closes
09.30 Route and safety brief
10:00 Train for 4.5km swimmers departs
10:10 Race start – 9km swimmers
10:15 Race start – 1.5km swimmers
13:30 Prize giving
Race rules & Terms & Conditions
Please read the updated 2020 race rules and terms and conditions of entry throughly before signing up. You can read them in full here. Please be aware that we offer a no refunds policy and limited entry deferral options (up to 6 weeks before the event). You are permitted to transfer your entry into another name up to 1 week before the event date. Please only enter this event if you are happy with these terms. Please see our FAQ page for more information. We recommend you take out individual sports event insurance to cover any losses due to unexpected circumstances that prevent you from taking part.
An event handbook which contains all the information you will need will be available a few weeks before the event. You will be emailed a link to the handbook. Please read all the information throughly to get the best out of the day!
Going on average water temperatures for June over the last few years, we expect the water temperature in Llyn Tegid to be between 13°C and 16°C for the Big Bala swim event. The temperature in the lake can vary quite a lot depending on the amount of rainfall and sunshine we have but we will keep you updated on the water temperature in the run up to the event.
The Big Bala Swim 2021 commemorative tshirts are available for pre-order (to pick up on the day of the event). These will be availabe to order approx 1 month before the event date. They are £15 each and are ethically produced from organic cotton using only renweable energy! They are hand printed locally using environmentally friendly inks.
Official nutrition partner
Wild Trail will be helping to fuel you on our events this year as our official nutrition partner! Their all natural fruit and nut bars are made with just 5 simple ingredients you’ll know and love, see them at www.wildtrail.co.uk. They are gluten free, dairy free, have no added sugar, are high in fibre and suitable for vegetarians and vegans! Best of all, Wild Trail bars are inspired by Snowdonia and are made locally in Wales.
We are super exited to have Zone3 on board as our Big Bala Swim event sponsors. They will be suppling the winners of each category with a prize. Zone3 are also offering all Love SwimRun participants a 20% discount on their range of swimming gear and wetsuits! You will receive a special discount code once you have registered.
Our Charity Partner – The Marine Conservation Society
We are so pleased to be supporting The Marine Conservation Society (MCS). The MCS is the UK’s leading charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. Our seas are under immense pressure: too many fish are being taken out, too much rubbish is being thrown in and too little is being done to protect marine wildlife and fish stocks.
Our UK seas and coasts are amongst the most diverse and beautiful on the planet, playing host to dolphins, sharks, whales and turtles. Over half of the UK’s wildlife resides within our seas and many other species such as seabirds rely on them for their survival.
Please help the MCS protect and conserve our precious marine wildlife by selecting to make a donation when you enter. Every little bit will help and every penny will go straight to the MCS. If you are interested in raising sponsorship funds for the MCS in return for a FREE ENTRY please email email@example.com.
Prizes & pizza eating!
Hot drinks, snacks and delicious pizza will be available to buy when you finish your race from a wood fired pizza stall. All competitors will receive a Big Bala Swim Medal and a Wild Trail bar at the finish line. Prizes from Zone3 and Love SwimRun will be awarded to the first 3 male and female swimmers in each wetsuit distance category and first 3 swimmers on the non wetsuit category. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered.
Toilet & shower facilities
There are toilets, changing rooms and showers available at the rugby club. Public toilets, changing rooms and showers are available close to the finish line. There are no toilets at Bala town station where you will catch the train for the 4.5km swim, but there are public toilets near to the swim start.
By car: Bala typically is 4.30 hours from London by car, 1.30 hours from Manchester. The post code for Clwb Rygbi Y Bala/Bala Rugby Club is LL23 7DZ. Public transport: The closest mainline train station to Bala is in Blaenau Ffestiniog, but the onward public transport connections from there are not simple. The best option is Wrexham and from there a bus service runs to Bala – although it takes about 90 minutes.
To see a list of local accommodation providers go to VisitBala.org.uk here.
Why not look at staying at Glan Llyn, a fantastic outdoor education centre right on the banks of Llyn Tegid! The centre has 55 ‘en-suite’ bedrooms which can sleep two, four, six or eight people. You can book a whole room if you are coming with a group of friends or family, or you can book a bed in a bunk room to share with up to 4 other people. Tea and coffee making facilities are available, with an allocated lounge for each accommodation block for you to unwind. Free wi-fi connection is available across the site. If you would like to book please call the centre between to make a reservation.
The number is 01678 541 000 (open 8:30 – 16:30 Mon – Fri). Bookings are only accepted with payment.
Spectators are welcome to come and support you at The BIG Bala Swim! There are plenty of good spots from which to support people participating. There is disabled access to the registration & finish area though some of this is on a rough track, not tarmac.
The first public train will run at 11.00am from Llanuwchllyn. There will not be places available on the participants swim train for friends/family members I am afraid but spectators can drive down to Llangower station to watch participants start their swim. If you take any photos or videos we would love to see them! If you or any of your supporters are interested in marshalling, please get in touch!