CREATIVE SWIM SESSIONS
join me for a chat, walk and a swim in the mountains of snowdonia
Photo © Sarah Gerrish
#SWIMSNOWDONIA - CREATIVE SWIM SESSIONS
Share a day of conversations, creativity and fresh air, embrace the elements, take what mother nature gives you as inspiration be it rain, hail or sunshine and run with it!
Join me for a walk and swim in the beautifully rugged mountains of Snowdonia. Hear what makes a lake special to me, as I share one of my favourite lakes with you, listen to how and why I started my project #swimsnowdonia, a creative documentation of all the permanent bodies of water in Snowdonia National Park. The day is very much focused on the great outdoors, experiencing the elements and your place within them, there will be plenty of time for you to respond to the environment around you. I actively encourage you to take some time to stop and reflect on your time in the water and in the mountains.
"I care little for distance, times and temperatures, swimming for me feeds my creativity and these days are an opportunity to share discussion, the mountains and the sheer joy of swimming outside. You are free to take from the day what you wish and encouraged to bring your notebooks, sketchbooks, cameras, recorders.. after all, mountains aren't just for climbing!"
We will start and finish the day in either Llanberis or Capel Curig, near Betws-y-Coed exactly where we will go will totally depend on the weather conditions on the day but it will be in the nearby mountain areas. Approximate timings of the day are 9am - 3pm however these may be subject to change due to location choice and weather. By request, I will be offering both valley and mountain days in 2022. The valley creative day will be based lower with less uphill walking and lunch at a local cafe, the mountain creative day will involve walking up into the mountains for the day.
"...she learned to go into the hills aimlessly, ‘merely with the intention to be with the mountain as one visits a friend, with no intention but to be with him’.
from Robert MacFarlane's introduction in 'The Living Mountain' by Nan Shepherd.
A quad bike engine hums in the distance
Playing out its part in the symphony
Alongside sheep calls that echo around the cwm
Coarse grass underfoot
Gives way to falling darkness
Smoke, no mirrors
Rust shifts, bursting
Burns and fades
Words and image from a #swimsnowdonia Creative Swim Day
CREATIVE WRITING SESSION
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
(If you are coming via public transport please drop me a message)
IN WATER PHOTOGRAPHY
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
It is entirely up to you what you want to bring along, these sessions are about experiences, not endurance. But as a general guide, I would suggest...
Waterproof trousers and jacket
Boots or trainers
Swim hat/woolly hat (may get wet)
Towel/Robie (Dry Robes can be a little bulky to carry on the mountains but if you can carry it you are very welcome to bring yours)
Rucksack to put everything in.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY?
I think a day on the hills, swimming in lakes and having time to reflect, absorb your surroundings is incredible, but see what other people who have shared the experience with me say
It was a beautiful day Vivienne- thank you for the experience. Some words from the day....
Languid thickness of water
Mellifluous over starfish stones and black as cormorant gullet.
Such an incredible day - thank you again. It was wet, grey, cold and I LOVED IT. A mind and soul expanding experience.
Thank you Vivienne! It was such a special day! We all had an amazing time & it was really really great to meet you and be in your company! Thank you for sharing with us xxx
Photo © Sarah Gerrish
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What lakes will we visit?
Where we go is entirely dependant on the weather conditions in the mountains on the day. The decisions on where to go are made in the morning and based on the weather and the safety of the group.
How far will we swim?
All my swim sessions are based on having experiences, not endurance. No one is expected to swim laps or the length of a lake if you wish to just lie back and stare at the sky that is fine. I do ask that you have swimming experience if you come on a group day, if you are nervous about swimming outdoors I would book on to one of my wild swim water confidence sessions first.
How cold is the water?
All water in the UK is deemed to be 'cold' even in the summer months! I don't measure water temperatures as I prefer to feel the changes in the temperature in my skin. As a general guide, however, the water in the mountains is at it's coldest in February/March and at it's warmest in August/September.
Do I have to wear a wetsuit?
My kit list is a guide, you are welcome to wear in the water whatever you feel most comfortable. Wearing a wetsuit will enable you to stay in the water longer. If you bring one along you can always then make the choice, to wear it or not.
It's summer do I really need a wooly hat and gloves?
I would bring them, I don't think I have ever been swimming in the mountains and not put a woolly hat on afterwards. It may be glorious sunshine, but after swimming in a high mountain lake you will feel very chilly and be grateful for all those warm clothes you brought along.
How far will we walk and how steep will it be?
The distance we will walk will depend on which lake/s we go to and which day you have booked on to. Generally, the walk-in is no more than an hour or so. It will be uphill as we are in the mountain environment, some of this may be steep and it is very likely to be on uneven terrain off well-trodden paths. However, all walking is done at a gentle pace, where everyone is the group can keep up and hold a conversation.
What about Covid?
I completely understand and share all concerns about Covid-19. I have been awarded the UK Governement 'We're Good To Go' mark meaning I comply with their current guidance on Covid. I have a specific section in my booking terms and conditions on Covid-19 that ask everyone to read before they book.
WHERE TO STAY?
There is a full range of accommodation options in Snowdonia to suit every budget and taste.
The ones suggested below operate independently from me
I am an artist, educator and outdoor swimmer. I spilt my time between the mountains of Snowdonia in North Wales where I have lived since 2002 and on the beautiful South Coast in the New Forest where I grew up. My project #swimsnowdonia was listed amongst 'The 10 most inspiring adventures' in The Guardian and has been the focus of several short films including a music video for the band Elbow. 'Afterglow' a short film about my passion for both my creativity and cold water swimming won Best Woman in Adventure Gold Award at Sheffield Adventure Film Festival., Best Short Film at The Four Season Film Festival and was recently selected for The Patagonia Film Festival in Santa Monica. I was included in the first San Miguel Rich List, 'a unique list of men and women who value experiences over any possession' and listed as one of Britains 101 Adventurers. I am currently featuring in an ITV documentary 'The Mountain ' which follows the lives of a selection of people who live and work on the busiest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdon.
I am a Qualified Teacher, Mountain Leader, Open Water Swimming Coach, RLSS Open Water Lifeguard, RYA Day Skipper and hold RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore Theory. I hold Emergency First Aid in the Outdoors, RLSS Water Safety Management Level 1-3, STA Level 2 Swimming Teacher Award and Certificate, I am an RLSS Trainer and have more than 10 previous years of experience lifesaving in swimming pools.