Frequently Asked Questions

Swimming
How much training do I need to do?

If you have to train to go on holiday, then it's probably not a holiday - you are just going somewhere different to train, and that is fine. We do holidays, which can still be active and strenuous and enjoyable, or they can be lazy and relaxed, chilled out, and enjoyable.

It is a holiday, not a training camp. More than that, it is YOUR swimming holiday.

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How far do I need to be able to swim?

It is a holiday, and more than that, it is YOUR swimming holiday.

You need to swim as far as you want to swim.

If you prefer to stay in standing depth water, and enjoy floating about - then that is fine with us. If you want us to help you build your water confidence to go swimming out into the deep dark waters, then all you have to do is ask.

Yes, there is a group, and inevitably there will be mixed abilities - but as long as you are enjoying yourself, who cares if the guy with gills and fins is off doing laps of Ireland. (I should say - we care obviously, as we will be making sure he is safe; just as we are making sure you are safe - but that is not your concern, you are on holiday).

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How many people swim in the group?

All holidays will be run with a minimum of two qualified and experienced guides. We put an initial cap of 7 swimmers per trip. However, if there is sufficient demand, we will bring in a third guide and go up to a maximum of 14 swimmers. We take your safety seriously.

We like to keep things small, we know this dents our profits, but part of the fun and the pleasure of the holidays (for us) is getting to know YOU. We don't want to turn up with coach loads of people, and for you to be an unknown face in the crowd.

Particularly for those of you who want to improve swim technique, or build confidence in open water - small groups, means more personal attention from us. More personal attention from us, means that you improve at a faster rate. Simple as that. That is why we keep the group sizes small.

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I have a friend who likes the idea of outdoor swimming but has not done much and is pretty nervous. They are worried that they might upset the group if they only want to be in for a quick dip...

We think that they should come and swim with us.

First time Dan and Gabs went swimming together she said to him “er do you mind if I swim quite close? I don’t really like it when I can’t see the bottom”.

See, if Dan knows Gabs is a bit nervous then he can bear it in mind, but if she does not tell him then maybe she would have got all freaked out and not ever swam again.

Nearly everyone we swim with says they are ”not good enough“ or “not fast enough”. Good enough for what? Fast enough for what?

It is your swim, you go as fast or slow as you want to!

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Do I need to bring my ducky arm bands?

Most definitely.

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I'm not a great swimmer, I'm not sure this is for me...

OK, but you are clearly enthusiastic and interested, otherwise you would not be reading this page!

It is your holiday, and so if you let us know what you are interested in doing - we will tailor the swims to that.

Members of the Gone Swimming team are qualified swim teachers, and lifeguard trainers - so there is a lot of experience around. If you want to receive some swim teaching or coaching during your holiday, then all you have to do is ask.

We are not out to terrify anybody, nobody has a good holiday then. Swimming should be fun, and we will do our best to develop your skills in safety, and make sure that you enjoy yourself.

Another option that a few people like to do, is to pop over on the Friday morning, and have a half-day swim coaching session with us before the holiday, just to build confidence and polish stroke technique before the rest of the group arrives.

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Do I have to be a really fast swimmer?

No. Simple as that.

In our book, it's not really a holiday if you have to train for it. That would be more of an adventure or an expedition - which can still be awesome fun, trust us. However, this is about holidays, and holidays are about enjoying yourself. We don't do boot-camps (yet).

This is about enjoying swimming outdoors. Not setting a new record for a lap of Anglesey.

The swims are tailored to the groups desires, and most of our swim spots tend to have a few options for people. Longer distances along beaches or round headlands, or exploring secret caves and hidden arches, there's lots to do in North Wales - and not all of it involves swimming at top speed with your head down.

We have a flexible itinerary, and flexible transport options exactly for this reason. Those that wish to swim for a long time, can do. Those that wish to dip in and dip out, can do.

It's your trip, relax and enjoy it!

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Can my non-swimming companion come along?

Yes! You guys are EXACTLY the type of people we had in mind when we created the holidays. This is what we want to do with swimming holidays - and nobody else really seems to do it.

If this is your first visit to North Wales... well you are in for a treat - if you are into the outdoors, it is great. There are so many options for outdoor activities. Lots of the swims we do involve a walk in or a walk out. If we are swimming off a beach, then there is the whole of the Wales Coastal Path to explore. If they are into biking, there are plenty of amazing road biking routes - and honestly, North Wales has got to be the best place in the UK for mountain biking! Wherever we are, we'll be able to recommend something to keep them entertained. Hopefully, we might even manage to encourage them into a little dip!

All of our locations are equally awesome - each different in their own way. We chose them for the variety that we can now offer. We honestly struggle to recommend one over the other - it depends on whether you fancy sea swims or mountain lakes, or a mix. Have a look at our facebook page photo albums to get a flavour for what is on offer - and have a browse through the intineraries (which are only samples - the details will change depending on the wishes of the group) and see what appeals.

So - as far as we are concerned, there is absolutely no problem with your friend coming along. In fact, we encourage it.

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Accommodation
Will I be sharing a room with people I don’t know?

On a Wet Weekend, we will have most likely booked a whole dorm in the hostel if not the whole hostel, so will probably be sharing with people from the Gone Swimming trip.

Whatever the situation is, you will definitely know in advance of the trip.

If you specifically want a particular room (for any reason), please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you!

On Pleasure of Adventure, no you won't, unless you specifically agree to it.

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Will I be sharing a room with someone of the opposite sex?

On a Wet Weekend - possibly, we do our very best to make sure people get the rooms they want. But if this really sends you into a tail spin then let us know and we can see if we can make arrangements.

On Pleasure of Adventure - no, you'll have your own room - unless you specifically agree to share.

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Food & Drink
I have specific dietary needs. Can you still feed me?

No problem.

Let us know - ideally before the holiday actually starts(!) and we will do our utmost to provide for you.

Dan has dietary needs.... he eats like a hibernating dormouse after a day of swimming. This may not seem a lot, but a doormouse doubles in bodyweight prior to hibernation. For its tiny size - that is a lot!

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I'm a picky eater, will I starve?

No you won't. Don’t worry about how picky you are, that’s fine. Just let us know on the form that we send out to you. Please be really honest. We don't mind catering for peoples needs - otherwise we would not be running this company!

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Kit & Wetsuits
Can I hire a wetsuit from you?

YES! We have a small selection of very high quality 3mm Neil Pryde short-sleeved wetsuits.

Our guests come in so many different sizes and shapes that it is not possible for us to cater to everyone. But, get in touch and we will see if we have one to fit. We do have a wide range of sizes.

The reason we have gone for short-sleeved is that it allows you to feel the water better as you swim. It also means a lot less wrestling to get in and out of the suit.

A wetsuit is such a tight fitting garment, that it is important to get one that fits you properly - even if it is only a cheap one, rather than hire suit that fits where it touches... trust me, I have experienced it.

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Where can I get a wetsuit from?

We have a small selection of wetsuits that we can hire out to you.

If you are looking to buy one, ask folk you know who you swim with where they got theirs. Please try to have a swim in it before you get here.

Our biggest tip would be to try it on. Tempting as it may see, do not buy off eBay. All wetsuit manufacturers build to slightly different shapes and sizes, the only way you know which one is the best for you - is to try them on.

A very effective alternative, would be to consider a made-to-measure suit, which is not as expensive as you may think. Come and have a chat to us about what you might want, and we can sort it out for you - we sell made-to-measure Snugg wetsuits.

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My wetsuit is only [insert description], will I be OK?

Only you can answer that question, as we are all different people with different levels of adaptation to cold water.

We would definitely say that the fit and design of the wetsuit has a larger influence on whether it keeps you warm than the thickness. A great 3mm suit that is close fitting and made from high quality neoprene that has been blind-stitched, taped and glued is going to be warmer than a 5mm that you borrowed from a friend who is two stone heavier than you are.

The suits that we provide are 3mm suits that have been blind-stitched, taped, and glued. They are high quality Neil Pryde suits (brand spanking new), and so it's just a question of finding the one that fits you the best!

Hoods make a difference to your sensation of cold, and so if you do tend to get chilly we would recommend investing in a neoprene skullcap or balaclava.

The simplest answer is, that we are not forcing you to swim any set distances. If you have had enough, and you do not want to swim any more, whether you are tired or cold or whatever... then that is fine. It is your holiday, and we are here to look after you.

We will get you warm and dry, and a hot drink in hand whilst you relax, take a stroll, enjoy the views, and watch the others swim.

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Do I need a wetsuit?

If you want to bring one, please do so.

If you prefer to swim in swimwear, that is fine by us.

It is your holiday - do what you want!

The Gone Swimming team tend to wear wetsuits when we are running one of our holidays, simply because we need to be able to ensure your safety - and that is easier to do when we are warmer and more buoyant.

However, when we are out adventuring on our own, most of the time we just strip off and get right in. Saves a lot of weight and faff of lugging a wet wetsuit back with you.

We do have a selection of wetsuits that are available to hire from us, please contact us before your holiday to check on sizes.

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What do I need to bring?

Great!!, so you are clearly thinking about coming on one of our trips! Go on, bite the bullet, get in touch - book a place! You won't regret it, we promise.


OK, so things you will need....


Insurance

We don't have a preferred provider, and we are not getting kick backs from anybody or commissions. We recommend that you have comprehensive travel insurance, and it would make sense that it covers open water swimming. Of course, as a company we have all of the insurance policies in place that we need - but we suggest that you need your own too.


General stuff

We would suggest that you bring the following, to make your life that bit more comfortable - it is not the end of the world if you don't have everything, we can usually sort stuff out.

  • Warm hat
  • Warm tops (no zips or buttons) to put on after swims that you don't mind them possibly getting a bit grubby.
  • Warm trousers (no zips or buttons or belts) also to put on after swims
  • A couple of towels
  • Two swimsuits
  • Goggles or mask
  • Ear plugs - both for in the water, and during the night!
  • Water bottle (for cold drinks - we provide you with flasks for hot drinks
  • Bag for all your post-swim stuff to go into, we can provide a roll-top drybag rucksack.

Don't worry too much about memorising this list, once you have booked onto a trip, we will send you all the details that you could possibly want.

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Children & Families
Can my kids come too?

YEP! We are keen to get people swimming outdoors, whatever their age. So if they are keen, who are we to say no?

If you are interested in this option, we would require that a parent or legal guardian is always with the child(ren), and that the responsibility for the child(ren) remains with the parent or legal guardian.

Swims would generally be shorter, with less "journey" swims, just because of the fact that children get cold faster than adults - their surface area to mass ratio is greater, and so they cool faster. Often child westsuits are not very well fitting either.

Check out our Wild Families Holidays for further details on family friendly trips!

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Medical conditions & Disabilities
I have limited mobility, is this a problem?

No problem at all. As we've said elsewhere, the great thing about the Gone Swimming team is that we are local guides, with local knowledge.

Whether you have a dodgy ankle, use a wheelchair, have prosthetic limbs, or just need to take it slow sometimes - there is absolutely no reason not to swim outdoors.

If we know in advance, we can ensure that our swims are accessible to you - because we know the area so well, we know where there are steps, where there are ramps, where it is muddy, and where it is gravelly.

We deeply believe that swimming is a great leveller and an activity that is accessible to all. Water supports the body weight, and regardless of your level of mobility - the pleasure of floating around and taking in the environment is immense.

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Financial Protection
What insurance do you have?

Gone Swimming is a small company, and we do not pretend to be anything else. We strongly believe the personal touch, and individual attention that we offer is what sets our holidays apart from the rest. The advantage of local guides who know the area well cannot be understated. Whatever the weather, we can almost always find somewhere nice to swim.

That said, even as a small company there is no excuses for cutting corners.

Everything we do is completely in accordance with the law. We are a limited company (Company Registration number 7933262). Our package holidays are protected through our partners Protected Travel Services.

We are insured with Event Assured for Public Liability Insurance, Employers Liability Insurance, and Professional Indemnity Insurance.

You can be sure that our backing, and financial protection that we provide to you is just like our service - second to none.

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How is my money protected?

In order to comply with the Package Travel, Package Tours and Package Holidays Regulations 1992 (click here for the full legislation and have a look here for the DirectGov summary), all client money is independently held in trust by Protected Travel Services Ltd until your holiday has been completed.

This protects all payments we receive from you against the unlikely event of our financial failure meaning that should such an event occur you will be able to have a full refund or continue your trip as normal.

No money is paid to us until all the suppliers for your trip have been paid and you have completed your trip.

Please see http://www.protectedtravelservices.com/company/consumer-protection for more information.

If you are weighing up the options, make sure that your holiday company offers you the same level of protection, it is required by law.

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