The Menai Strait Swims
Join us for this unique and rare opportunity to swoosh 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.
We offer TWO Menai Strait Swim options:
– The Original Menai Strait swim: 6.5km – a long, tough swim for strong, fast and experienced swimmers.
– The Mini Menai Strait Swim: 2.5km – a shorter, more chilled out swim, for strong, experienced swimmers.
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 Original Menai Strait Swim
Total distance: 6.5km
Price: £120pp (+£5 booking fee per person)
Meeting location: Y Felinhelli
Places available: 12 people max
– Sat 25th May 2024. BOOK NOW
– Sat 22nd June 2024. BOOK NOW
– Sat 27th July 2024. BOOK NOW
– Sat 7th Sept 2024. BOOK NOW
– Sat 19th Oct 2024. BOOK NOW
The Mini Menai Strait Swim
Total distance: 2.5km
Price: £120pp (+£5 booking fee per person)
Meeting location: Llanfair PG
Places available: 12 people max
– Sun 8th Sept 2024. BOOK NOW
Both the 6.5km and the 2.5km cost the same amount. This is because it costs us exactly the same amount to run the event regardless of the distance of the swim! We wanted to offer the shorter 2.5km option to make this incredible experience more accessible to a wider range of swimmers but even though we will not be in the water for as long, we still need to hire and pay our kayakers and safety boat crew for the day to offer you the same high level of safety! We believe that the price for this completely unique experience is good value. There are 6 people that work during this event, including 2 kayakers and two powerboat pilots (plus their boat!) all of whom are are fully qualified and experienced, to make this swim as safe as it possibly could be. They are all paid a full day rate and keep the following day available in case we have to move the day of the swim due to weather! Please see below for more details about what is included.
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
- A unique ‘I Swam The Menai Strait!’ swim cap!
- 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 negotiating 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 kayak guide to keep an eye on everyone and make sure we all stay together. A swimming guide will also be in the water with you to offer support. 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: There is a dedicated First Aider stationed in the safety boat. All guides are first aid trained and will be carrying first aid kits.
Pace, Ability & Experience
For either swim distance, you MUST have previous experience of sea swimming in choppy conditions and be a confident and strong swimmer. This swim is a committing and dangerous undertaking. Please be sure that your swimming ability is in-line with the criteria set out below for each distance and that you are happy with the our terms and conditions before entering. If during the swim you are unable to keep up with the group you will be retired from the swim.
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.
All participants must be 18+ years old.
The Original Menai Strait Swim
To take part in the 6.5km swim you should:
– Be able to swim at a minimum speed of 1km per 22 minutes with no rests
– Be able to swim 3km in one go with minimal rest.
– Be able to put in bursts of a few minutes strong, fast swimming when required to during this distance.
– Have some 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 confident and strong swimmer. At times you will be required to swim fast, navigate across the channel of water, sometimes fighting waves and strong currents. This requires speed and strength. There is limited opportunity to stop and rest in the swim but we will rest in the eddy currents and there will be times when we can float along with the current. As a last resort if you get too cold or tired you can get in the boat, but it is really only there for emergencies. Although it is a 6.5km swim the fast current will carry us a long way so it will actually feel more like half the distance (Approx 2 hours in the water). BUT, you do need to swim at times, you can’t just float along for the whole distance!
The Mini Menai Strait Swim
To take part in the 2.5km swim you should:
– Be able to swim at a minimum speed of 1km per 26 minutes with minimal rest.
– Be able to swim a minimum of 1.5km in one go with minimal rest.
– Be able to put in bursts of a few minutes of strong, fast swimming when required to during this distance.
– 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 confident swimmer. At times you will be required to put in some speed, sometimes fighting strong currents. This requires speed and strength in short bursts. There is limited opportunity to stop and rest in the swim but we will rest in the eddy currents and there will be times when we can float along with the current. As a last resort if you get too cold or tired you can get in the boat, but it is really only there for emergencies. Although it is a 2.5km swim the fast current will carry us a long way so it will actually feel more like half the distance (approx 1-1.15hr in the water). BUT, you do need to swim at times, you can’t just float along for the whole distance!
Wetsuit and tow float are compulsory – NO EXCEPTIONS, please do not ask!
– 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 that Love SwimRun will supply
We recommend you wear/carry:
– Thermal/insulating layers underneath: rash vests or neoprene vests
– Neoprene accessories – gloves, socks, hat
– Energy gel
How to enter
Before you enter, please be sure that you have the necessary swimming ability and experience (listed above) to complete the swim safely and to enjoy it! Please use the buttons next to the dates available above and fill in the entry form as directed. Please read the terms and conditions fully before agreeing to them.
Entries will be at the discretion of Love SwimRun Ltd. You may be asked to provide evidence of your swimming ability and experience. Acceptability of experience is the decision of Love SwimRun Ltd. The decision of Love SwimRun Ltd. is final and no disputes will be entered into.
Further information on kit and logistics on the day will be available 2 weeks before the event.
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, otherwater users, wildlife.
- I have been made aware of the swim water temperature. I agree it is solely my decision on whether to undertake the swim 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 without question 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 as indicated by the criteria set out on the website. I can supply authentic and truthful evidence of my swimming ability to support my entry application if required.
- Prior to taking part, I will inform the organisers and guides of any physical conditions that may impact on my ability to complete the swim 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
b) When the event cannot be held safely due to particular conditions beyond our control, including Covid-19 restrictions – 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 booking 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, except as outlined in our Cancellation Policy.
If you can no longer take part in the swim 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. 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.