Coronavirus guidelines for swim sessions
Hand wash facilities are available from my van at the start of the session using either soap and water, or alcohol based hand sanitiser. Masks are not essential in the outdoors but they will be available for wetsuit fittings, or if you would feel happier wearing one.
Toilets are scarce in the National Park and many of them remain closed for the time being. I will be providing advice and information for swimmers. Whilst we are on the move, personal hygiene kits will be available for each swimmer. These are refillable packs containing all you need for hand washing and taking away tissues, litter etc. They are handed out on loan but are also available to purchase if you like the idea. The refillable packs are as environmentally friendly as I can make them and will be cleaned and quarantined after each use.
Since the stricter elements of lockdown were lifted there has been a huge rise in visitors to the Lake District, comparable with busy bank holidays. In particular, the visitors were at low level and around shore lines - the places I tend to work. This obviously makes social distancing difficult and puts pressure on parking, particularly when car sharing is not possible. With that in mind, I will be starting sessions earlier and limiting the locations I work out of to maintain social distancing and most importantly to retain the peaceful element of wild swimming.
My unofficial policy of not travelling to Coniston, Grasmere, Rydal or Windermere on a weekend is now going to be an official rule, with one exception. Bookings can be facilitated in these areas if they are early morning appointments ie 7am or no later than 8am. In addition to this, certain other popular locations such as Black Moss Pot or Buttermere will be restricted to early starts.
My wetsuits and accessories have always been disinfected between uses - for good hygiene and for protecting lakes from invasive species. This will continue, and the only change is that I will inflate any loaned tow floats these are manually inflated by blowing into them.
All group swim participants will be asked to respect each others personal space and maintain a considerate distance from each other. Please remember not everyone will feel comfortable and may find social interaction more difficult to start with. It may be someone’s first time back in a group environment and for everyones physical and emotional well-being this rule will be enforced.
I have reduced my group sizes to 5 in line with the current advice for meeting outdoors, and I will keep this under review. If you are in a bubble or attending with another member of your household then I will be able to increase the number in the group.
The more complex group swims have been temporarily taken off the schedule. The majority of my customers and myself included have missed nearly two months of swimming and it would be unwise to hit the ground running with the kinds of swims I usually offer at this time of year. People will need time to reacclimatise and build up distances so you can expect swims to be temporarily more gentle. Of course, if you would like something more advanced you can book a private experience.
Due to the overwhelming demand for group sessions and the limited group number, I have taken all group sessions off the website. Booking will be via email for the foreseeable future and details of available swims will be emailed to my mailing list. If you are not on the list you can sign up via my website.
Thank you to everyone who bought vouchers or waived their group session payment to help me through this tricky financial period. These payments have ensured I have had an income through lockdown and allowed me to pay my essential bills. As the business starts to get back on its feet it won’t be able to sustain a rush of vouchers being cashed in at once. I still need to rebuild my financial reserves to see me through the off season and cover essential business cashflow. Therefore I may have to limit the number or value of vouchers that can be used at one time, however please be assured that they will be honoured in full.
Your safety is my number one concern. I'm trained to carry out 'hands free' rescues, and recently renewed my first aid training under the shadow of coronavirus. You are in safe (clean) hands.
If you have any questions or suggestions then please feel free to get in touch.