The Big Bala swim

The BIG Bala Swim, North Wales, UK

1st June 2019

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. There are 3 distance options to choose from so there is a swim to suit everyone.

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The Course

The BIG Bala Swim (Not to be confused with our other event, The Big Welsh Swim) is the second in our ‘Swim Train’ series 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 two way swim of 9km that starts from the lake shore west of Bala town from where you’ll swim to Llangower station and back! To make sure there is something for everyone we also have a shorter swim option of 1.5km as well. 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

Swim Distances:

  • 1.5km (you will not catch the train for this swim)
  • 4.5km
  • 9km (you will not catch the train for this swim)

Feed stations: There will be a feed station at Llangower beach for the 9km swimmers and food will be available at the finish line for all finishers. We will not be handing out bottles of water at the finish line in a bid to reduce plastic waste and help care for the environment. Water will of course be available at the feed station and the finish line but you will need to have your own bottle or cup. With this in mind please make sure you have a bottle of water in your bag when yo plae it in the bag drop.

Cut off time: There is a cut off time of 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: 15th July 2018.

Online entry closes: 27th May 2019. (No entry changes can be made after this time)

You must be over 18 years of age on the day of the race to enter the event. 16+ participants will need parental consent to take part in full length swims. Under 16’s can complete the 1.5km swim if accompanied in the water by an fee paying adult who will take complete responsibility for them.

There will be a maximum number of entries available for each distance. When that number is reached entries for that distance will close and a waiting list will open.

  • 1.5km 50 places
  • 4.5km 200 places
  • 9km 100 places

Entry prices

  • 1.5km: Adult £42 / Junior (age 15 & under) £27  (no train included)
  • 4.5km: £58  (includes train ticket)
  • 9km: £68  (no train included)

Entry fee includes:

  • Full water safety cover
  • Train ticket (for 4.5km swim)
  • Event swim hat
  • Electronic timing
  • Food and hydration during & after event (see feed station info)
  • Race medal
  • Free event photos
  • Prize for winners in each distance category – supplied by Zone3

Equipment requirements

  • Swim hats supplied by event organisers must be worn at all times when in the water
  • Wetsuit (unless registered as a non-wetsuit participant)
  • Goggles
  • Tow floats may be used but are not mandatory for wetsuit wearing participants

Additional mandatory equipment for non-wetsuit competitors

  • Tow float (any type)

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, on: Saturday 1st June. 7.30am  –  Closes 9.15am

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 9.15am your place will be forfeited.


The compulsory briefing will be held at 9.30am on Saturday 1st June 2019 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 and 9km swimmers will make a 10 minute walk to their swim start.  Participants doing a 1.5km or 9km 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 £2 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.

Bag drop

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

Saturday 1st June 2019

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


Entries are open!

Event Handbook

An event handbook which contains all the information you will need will be available on a competitors information page (you’ll be given the link when you sign up) a few weeks before the event. Please read all the information throughly to get the best out of the day!

Water temperature

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.

Event merchandise

The Big Bala Swim 2018 commemorative tshirts are available for pre-order (to pick up on the day of the event) when you sign up to enter. These are £15 each and are etchically 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 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.

Wild Trail Ad for website

Event Sponsor

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 25% discount on their range of swimming gear and wetsuits! You will receive a special discount code once you have registered.

zone3 wetsuit discount

Charity partner

Love SwimRun are supporting Level Water during this event. We all know how wonderful swimming is! Level Water provides free one-to-one swimming lessons for children with disabilities.  Without these lessons, most of these children will never learn to swim. They provide lessons until children can swim 15m frontcrawl and backstroke.  From this point, these children are safe and independent in the water.  They can join group swimming lessons and even their local competitive swimming club!  The swimming lessons also help children with physical or sensory disabilities to develop confidence, self-esteem and resilience.  If we can give a child physical, social and emotional confidence through sport, we can change their trajectory in life.

Please help support Level Water by making a voluntary donation when you enter. Thank you!

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 distance 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 4.1km 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 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. The price for B&B is £30 per person.nIf 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.

Spectator info

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!

Race rules & Terms & Conditions

Please read the 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. You are permitted to transfer your entry into another name which you can do yourself by logging into your SiEntries account. We recommend you take out individual sports event insurance to cover any losses due to unexpected circumstances that prevent you from taking part.