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Great North Swim

Entries for the 2017 Great North Swim are.....NOW OPEN!

Congratulations to everyone who took part in this year's event - we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

We also wanted to thank all the volunteers, lifeguards, medical teams, charities and all of our kayakers who made sure that all of our swimmers got home safely. We hope to see you next year....

The Course

The Great North Swim course map is shown to the left and includes 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile and 5K distances.

The 10k marathon swim is 6 laps of the standard 1 mile course, the swim is suitable for regular swimmers who are capable of taking on longer distances. The entry age is 18+ and anyone who enters must be able to swim 10k unaided, within 4 hours. Find out more >


Course Map


The latest issue of 220 Triathlon magazine has tested mid-to-high end wet suits and has scored the Aqua Sphere RACER 84%.
According to 220 Triathlon magazine: “The Racer by Aqua Sphere is the most affordable of the mid-to-high-end suits and we also think its the best looking here... the suit is more hard-wearing, so less likely to tear or snag.  In the water we were happy with the flexibility and the suit provided a comfortable can’t go far wrong with the Racer by Aqua Sphere.”   



Event location

Come along to 'test the water' in the brand new Aqua Sphere Lido where you can extend your warm-up before the main event or drop in afterwards for a well deserved cool-down. 

The Lido is not just for swimmers taking part, if you have family and friends who would like to give open water swimming a go then they can borrow a wetsuit (free of charge) from Aqua Sphere, subject to availability. 

The Aqua Sphere Lido will be located near the finish area in front of the main lawn, wetsuits are compulsory and swimmers under the age of 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. You must be a competent swimmer to enter the Lido. The Aqua Sphere Lido will be open throughout the weekend subject to demand and lifeguard availability. The Lido is offered free of charge but donations to charity and the ongoing flood damage work will be gratefully received. 

Aqua Sphere Lido

We highly recommend making use of the public transport services available. 

Stagecoach will be offering a range of services that service the Great North Swim. As well as the usual 505, 555 and 599 services, there will be additional event specific services too between Windermere and Ambleside - all will drop and pick up from the event site. This will result in regular pick ups from Ambleside, Brockhole, Windermere and Bowness.

Take a look at the bus route map on the Stagecoach website for more information.

Bus information

On the day there will be plenty of things to see and do for spectators and swimmers. Take a look at some of the catering options that will be coming along to the Great North Swim this year to keep you refreshed and fuelled up:

Pappy’s Texas BBQ  (located on the lawn)
Hallsfords Farm Food (located on the lawn)
What the truck? 
Kendal Creperie (based near to the top of the car park by the marquee)

Come and join us and make a day of it with your family - there are plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained, including; a climbing wall and hot tubs.

Event village

The Great North Swim takes place at the Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel and Marina, Lake Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LP.

How to get there?

Due to the number of swimmers and spectators visiting the site, traffic around Windermere and Ambleside will be extremely busy. In order to minimise congestion there will be NO parking or dropping off at the event site.

By train:

Travelling to the event on the West Coast Mainline? Then take advantage of the exclusive Virgin Trains discount: For you, your friends and family... whether you’re travelling to an event on your own or up to groups of nine, you can all get up to 50% off Virgin Trains Advance Fares. This exclusive discount on Virgin Trains is the cheapest, easiest and most comfortable way of getting you and your supporters to the start line. Click here to book now -

Park, Sail and Walk:

You should have received your Sail Discount Voucher in your event pack. This entitles each swimmer to use Windermere Lake Cruises services operating from Bowness to Brockhole and Ambleside to Bowness piers at a discounted rate. The voucher is valid for:-Swimmer/competitor to sail at the discounted rate of to be confirmed. Up to 4 persons accompanying the swimmer to sail at the reduced return fares of: to be confirmed.From Brockhole Pier it is just less than a one mile walk to the event site. See back of voucher for more information and sail operating times.

  1. Please allow one hour travelling time from Bowness to the start area;
  2. Follow the car-parking signs in Bowness (applicable car parking rates apply);
  3. Take the Windermere Lake Cruises boat from Bowness to Brockhole;
  4. Follow the signs at Brockhole and walk to the event site (approximately 1 mile);

Note all return departures to Bowness will be from Ambleside Pier only which is a one mile walk north of the event site.

Park and Walk:

It is highly recommended that you use the Park and Sail service, however limited parking is available in Ambleside/Waterhead. Follow the event parking signs. It is a one mile walk to the event site. Applicable car parking rates apply.


A bike park will be available and it will be staffed but we recommend that you bring a suitable bike lock and do not leave any valuables with your bike.


The Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel and Marina is proud to host the Great North Swim. We look forward to welcoming participants and supporters to the shore of Lake Windermere. For assistance before the event, telephone 08458 503 502 or visit


Windermere is England's largest lake at 10.5 miles long (17km), stretching from Ambleside in the North to Newby Bridge in the South.

Surrounded by some of the nation’s most spectacular natural scenery - the Lake District National Park - the Great North Swim is an inspiring outdoor swim. Family and friends can watch all the action from the banks of Windermere while enjoying food and drink from local vendors.

About Windermere

National Trust

A warm welcome from the National Trust to all Great North Swimmers

We know that our campsite at Low Wray has long been a favourite base for many swimmers over the past years – thank you for staying with us and helping us to look after the Lakes.

Still looking for accommodation?

Low Wray is fully booked for the swim weekend but space is available at Great Langdale Campsite – a 20 minute drive from Ambleside.

Partnering with the GNS team this year, we plan to make your stay even more enjoyable with some enticing food, drink and activity options. 

Check out our special swim weekend package here >

National Trust - après-swim activities


Please see below for the 2017 event day timetable:

Time Swim Hat Colour Distance
Friday 9 June 2017    
Friday 12:00 TBC 10k swim
Friday 12:45 TBC 5k swim
Friday 14:00 TBC 5k swim
Friday 15:00 TBC 5k swim
Friday 16:00 TBC 2 mile swim
Friday 16:45 TBC 2 mile swim
Friday 17:30 TBC 1 mile swim
Friday 18:00 TBC Half mile swim

*NB. All times are subject to change in the lead up to the event

Friday 9 June 2017

Please see below for the 2017 event day timetable:

Time Swim Hat Colour Distance
Saturday 10 June 2017    
Saturday 09:30 TBC Half mile swim
Saturday 10:00 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 10:30 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 11:00 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 11:30 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 12:30   ELITE WOMEN (1 MILE)
Saturday 13:00   ELITE MEN (1 MILE)
Saturday 13:05 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 13:30 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 14:00 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 14:30 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 15:00 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 15:30 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 16.00 TBC 1 mile swim
Saturday 16:30 TBC 1 mile swim

*NB. All times and hats colours are subject to change in the lead up to the event

Saturday 10 June 2017

Please see below for the 2017 event day timetable:

Time Swim Hat Colour Distance
Sunday 11 June 2017    
08:00 TBC 10k swim
08:45 TBC 10k swim
10:30 TBC 5k swim
11:30 TBC 5k swim
12:30 TBC 2 mile swim
13:30 TBC 2 mile swim
14:00 TBC 1 mile swim
14:30 TBC Half mile swim
15:00 TBC Half mile swim

*NB. All times and hats colours are subject to change in the lead up to the event

Sunday 11 June 2017

Great North Swim 10k

What will the course be?

The 10k course will consist of 6 laps of the Great Swim course. You will be constantly monitored by our safety team and have the opportunity to finish at the end of any lap should you need to on the day. Your time will stop when you go over the timing mat at the finish. 

If I don’t complete the 10k will I still get my finisher's pack?

Yes – lap counting is an honesty system and down to each individual swimmer. Regardless of when you come through the finish system you are still entitled to your finisher's pack.

Will there be a feed station?

There will be a small pontoon reserved for 10k swimmers that you will pass at the end of each lap. You can stop on any or all of your laps to have a drink of Aqua Pura or take on some Jelly Babies. We recommend you practice taking these on board in your training. To avoid polluting the lake we ask that people replace any bottles back on the pontoon.  

Can I get out or have a rest at any point?

The feed station will be in deep water. You won’t be able to stand up but you will be able to hold on and take a minute to get your breath and receive a few words of encouragement from our Great Swim team. There will not be space for you to exit the water unless you are withdrawing from the swim.

Can friends / family access the feed station?

The feed station is small and adjacent to deep water so only Great Swim staff will be able to access it. Friends and family can support from the Low Wood Bay or near the half mile point at Jenkins Field.

Do I have to finish the Swim inside the 4 hour cut off time?

We will try and allow everyone to safely finish their swim. Due to the safety systems in place should people take longer than 4 hours we may have to ask them to finish a lap early, or have our safety teams bring them in. In addition to this we will be monitoring all swimmers and should our medical and safety team feel it is unsafe for any swimmer to continue at any point we may ask you to come in early. We will work with all swimmers to try and ensure they are able to finish the full 10k if it is safe to do so. Our priority is the well-being of swimmers.

If I’m not confident of completing the 10k distance can I drop down a distance? 

Subject to availability you can swap to a different distance, just email the customer services team at

Can I bring my own hydration and nutrition products for the event? 

Unfortunately we can’t cater for individual requirements as we have limited space on the feed station. Bottles of water and Jelly Babies will be made available for all swimmers. 


How to enter

1/2 Mile

£35 per entry


1 Mile

£40 per entry


2 Miles

£48 per entry



£55 per entry



£85 per entry (includes exclusive t-shirt & medal)