We love wild swimming in Wales
Gone Swimming is the trading name of Gone Swimming Limited. Registered company number 7933262. Registered office, 1 Thomas Buildings, New Street, Pwllheli, LL52 5HH.
We love where we live. We want to share it with you.
Dan and Gabby met swimming in a slate quarry at the top of Horseshoe Pass, on a blustery, foggy, Monday evening. After two lengths, a scramble out, and a cup of hot tomato & chilli soup – we agreed to meet again the following Monday for another swim.
After several weeks of enjoying each other’s company, and enjoying discovering new swims – we hit upon the idea of starting Gone Swimming. It’s simple, we want to offer the chance to you to come and share the things that we enjoy. North Wales is often under looked as a tourist destination, but is one of the best outdoor adventure playgrounds in the UK. It is a privilege to be able to share with you the beauty of the mountains, dropping straight into the sea. Apart from Snowdonia National Park, there are several Special Sites of Scientific Interest, and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty on the Llyn Peninsula and on Anglesey.
You can be sure that his background in safety and rescue training, means that you can be sure you will be well looked after in the water.
Dan started swimming in open water long before it was called “wild swimming”. He is the first NOWCA qualified coach in the country (after the two guys that founded NOWCA). Over ten years of regularly dipping, frequently racing, and often playing in open water has given Dan a deep understanding and a wealth of experience of open water. Dan has worked as a First Aid Instructor, Pool & Beach Lifeguard Trainer Assessor, Powerboat and Safety Boat Instructor, JetSki Rescue Instructor and a Swiftwater Rescue Technician Instructor for various organisations for over 8 years. He currently works on a consultancy basis with several rescue organisations. He is a contributing author to numerous magazines and technical manuals - including the forthcoming second edition of the Handbook on Drowning.
Dan and Tom are the passionate co-founders of a pioneering water safety and drowning prevention project that runs in Sudan. Nile Swimmers was set up in 2007 after two lifeguard instructors from the UK were asked by the British Council to run a project in Sudan. Since then the project has grown substantially, and is one of the most widly respected drowning prevention projects running in Africa.
Dan enjoys adventure racing, particularly the long distance events. After successfully completing the Terrex Coast to Coast in 2011, he has now managed to find three friends to enter the 5 day (500km) Terrex Sting in Stirling.
To relax he freedives occassionally. Yes, for some reason he finds holding his breath underwater to be relaxing, believe it or not. The answer to your next question, is “nearly four minutes, last time I tried a max attempt”. He also took most of the photographs that appear on this site, having swam (and often provided rescue cover) in every single bit of water that you see - including, Lake Biakal in Russia, White Lake in Mongolia, the River Nile, St Gilles Croix de Vie in France, the English Channel, the River Dee, Bala Lake, and many many more.
As you will gather from all this, that Gabs is firstly a fish and then a person. If it floats she likes it, and if it sinks she wants to know about it. She has swam competitively at school and also a county level, blasting some records for the IMs... She has a swimming costume in the glove box of her car. Gabby is taking part in a few BLDSA events this year and just hopes not not get her teeth kicked out as this will be her first time swimming competatively in a pack. With Gabby’s qualifications (she's a Level 2 ASA swimming teacher), experience, exuberance and attention to detail you can be sure all of your needs will be catered for, she will make sure you have an adventure to remember.
During her late teens, post A-Levels and rather directionless; her parents decided that she was in the way far too much and should go away and do something useful. So she went up to a course at Edinburgh School of Food and Wine. Her brother was at Uni there so she was able to sleep in his airing cupboard for most of the time, and thus reduce costs. Gabs’s passion for food really took off there as she was able to learn skills under the guidance of some pretty groovy chefs. This diploma was hard and fast, like some kind of crazy cooking boot camp. Many of the folk on it were looking to start their own business outside catering or were going to work for a ski season, feeding hungry skiers.
After that she went to Australia to teach kids how to swim. In 2002, Gabs took herself of the Caribbean with the grand idea of seeking her fortune. She ended up cooking on charter yachts in the Caribbean. There she dived at every chance she got and gained her PADI Rescue Diver Certification, and is still working towards her DiveMaster. Not to be considered tank dependent, she had a dabble in freediving too. This was mainly for functional reasons so when her guests dropped sunglasses and other things over board she could fetch them without having to drag out tonnes of dive gear.
After all her great experience underwater she was always happy to take guests on snorkel tours; and has a lot of experience with developing water confidence in nervous swimmers, snorkelers, and divers. She has taken nervous swimmers on snorkel tours early in the week only to find herself creating an impromptu swimming clinc - as she gets them confident to snorkel using a buddy system and figure out by themselves which way to go, and more importantly which way to get back.
The trips on board the yachts gave Gabs a great opportunity to learn flexibility and diversity as a chef in the galley. Guests may neglect to mention that they were a diabetic vegan celiac until they were 2 hours off shore... nice.
When she was not cooking on charter Yachts for the holiday guests, she was a member of a top notch racing team. With Olympic sailing blood in the family she was not to be seen standing about! Gabs was the manager of the J-27 Magnificent 7 as well as performing for deck duties during the races. This mainly meant she made sure that people, boats and paperwork were all where they should be before a race. During a race she made sure the pointy end of the boat did what it was meant to; and post race the sunburnt hungry crew (all male except for Gabs) were fed, watered and happy.
She’s pretty handy in a power boat too, as she has ICC power and well as the RYA Day Skipper for both power and sail. Gabs also had an STCW95 which is a certificate that needs to be held by any one working in international waters. This qualification deals with giving people the knowledge to cope with any situation that may crop up on the sea in a emergency situation. So deploying life rafts, dealing with Man Over Board as well as Sea Survival situations and tackling fires. Half of the week long course was first aid. First aid is what they call it, but when you are hundreds of miles from any blue lights first aid is more about learning how to deal with and manage very ill people for up to days at a time. But also about how to put on a Barbie plaster and administer lolipops...
Now she has recently returned home to the UK, and caught the bug for Adventure Racing where she spends hours dashing around the country side for long periods of time trying to find checkpoints. It’s like a treasure hunt for grown ups. Gabs’s main goal here is to one day do a race and earn more points than Dan, currently she just hopes to not get clinically hypothermic, massively lost or break her lovely mountain bike.
Gabby is proud of her Welsh roots, and it was in the Irish Sea where she first leant to swim on the beaches on Rhosneighr, in Anglesey. Gabs’s family are from the island originally and she is very proud of her roots there. The whopping great gouges out of the hill side copper mines are the only lasting reminder of her family's mark! Although her Mum and Dad did go to Bull Bay on Honey Moon. Gulp!
She is also a faster swimmer than Dan.
If you would prefer to speak to us in person, give us a call on +44 (0)1244 940 740 and leave us a voicemail. We will give you a call back as soon as we can.
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Phew, with all those different methods - we hope to hear from you very soon!