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Simon willis gulf of corryvreckan ellen 3


1 day
Day Trip

Trip Dates

27 Jul - 27 Jul, 2019
28 Jul - 28 Jul, 2019
15 Aug - 15 Aug, 2019
16 Aug - 16 Aug, 2019
17 Aug - 17 Aug, 2019
18 Aug - 18 Aug, 2019

Download trip notes

Tour Highlights

  • Complete the historic and challenging crossing of the Gulf of Corryvreckan

  • Attempt the swim featured in Robson Green’s “Wild Swimming” programme

  • Relax in the knowledge that you safety is taken care of by our fully trained escort team

  • Savour the atmosphere of the charming hamlet of Craobh Haven

Take part in one of Scotland’s most iconic open water swims across the fabled Gulf of Corryvreckan. Situated to the north of Jura and lying just off Scarba’s southern shore, the Gulf is transformed into a whirlpool during both flood and ebb tides as the sea surrounds a pinnacle that rises to within 30 metres of the surface.

We swim safely across the Gulf during slack water when the whirlpool is dormant, finishing under the imposing 400-foot cliffs of Scarba. You will be accompanied by a full safety escort throughout the duration of the swim, before having the opportunity to relax in the picturesque hamlet of Craobh Haven at the end of your adventure.

Legend of The Corryvreckan

Breakan, a Norwegian prince, fell in love with a princess of the Island of Jura. Her father only agreed to the relationship on the condition that Breakan must demonstrate his bravery by anchoring his boat for three whole days in the heart of the whirlpool. Breakan accepted the test and returned home, where he had three cables made of wool, hemp and maidens' hair. The women of Norway readily cut off their hair and plaited the rope. It was thought that the purity and innocence of the maidens would give the rope strength to hold the boat fast in the whirlpool. Breakan came back to Jura and anchored his boat in the Corryvreckan.

On the first day the hemp rope parted. On the second day, the woollen rope parted. On the last day they set the cable of hair and all went well until a strong burst of wind broke the rope. The boat was sucked under the sea by the whirlpool and a surviving crewman and Breakan's dog dragged the body of Breakan ashore to be buried in the King's Cave on the northern shore of Jura overlooking the Corryvreckan.

When the crewman finally made it home again and told of Breakan's fate, one of the young Norwegian ladies was consumed with guilt, as she was not as pure as she had made out - it had been her hair which had weakened the rope.

Who is this trip for?

Conditions on this trip can be challenging, yet extremely rewarding, so a good experience of open water swimming in challenging sea conditions is a must for this trip. Due to the nature of this trip there is a minimum swimming speed of 35 min/km.

What's included?

  • Fully guided swim trip across the Corryvreckan
  • Safety escort on all swims

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Any food or drink required during the day

Swim Schedule

We meet in the Craobh Haven Marina car park. Once everyone has arrived, we have a safety briefing during which we’ll explain the planned route, what to look out for and the safety escort cover that will be with you for the duration of the swim. Following the briefing, we’ll get you all in for a short acclimatisation swim en route to our start point. It is compulsory for everyone to take part in this as it allows the guide to assess the group’s swimming abilities and to group you accordingly. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to get acclimatised to the conditions too.

The journey from Craobh Haven to Jura takes roughly 30 minutes by boat. The swim sees you cross from the island of Jura to the island of Scarba under a full safety escort. The day will finish back at Craobh Haven harbour where, after changing, there is time to relax and reflect on your swimming adventure at the Lord of the Isles pub.

Trip Schedule

Gulf of Corryvreckan Meeting Times
Start & Finish Point: Craobh Haven Marina car park - By Lochgilphead, Argyll, PA31 8UA
Meeting Time: Please see table below
Finish Time: Approximately four hours after meeting time

Meeting and Swim Times

The below meeting times are dictated by local tides in order to ensure that your swim takes place under suitable conditions. A decision on whether an attempt is made depends entirely on the conditions on the day and will be communicated to you by your guides and boat pilot as soon as this decision has been made. If conditions aren't suitable, it may be possible to make a second attempt later in the day, however this cannot be guaranteed and SwimTrek will not be liable for any accommodation or extra expenses that may be incurred as a result of taking part in this alternative swim. Please note that the approximate swim time is 1 hour 35 minutes.

Swim Date Meeting Time
Thursday 25th July 07:30
Friday 26th July 08:45
Saturday 27th July 10:15
Sunday 28th July 11:45
Thursday 15th August 09:00
Friday 16th August 09:30
Saturday 17th August 10:00
Sunday 18th August 10:30

Trip Information

Equipment List

In addition to your daily non-swimming clothes, we also recommend that you bring the following items:

Item Item
Swimming Costume / Wetsuit Towel
Swimming Googles* (x2) Sweater / Fleece / Waterproof Jacket
Wetsuit Sunhat and Sunglasses
Waterproof Sun Cream Aqua Shoes / Sandals

*Try to bring one clear lens and one tinted lens for different light conditions.

Please note that SwimTrek will supply swim hats and provide water and electrolyte drinks in shared water bottles on your safety boat. If you prefer to use your own drink bottle, please feel free to bring one along. If you would like to use a wetsuit, rash vest or fins during your swims, please ensure that you bring these with you.

Swimming Distance

The point to point distance across the Gulf of Corryvreckan is approximately 1½km.

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience, however you should be aware that certain marine life such as sea lice, jellyfish, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims. In all cases we will work on reducing your contact with these creatures, however if you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking.


Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
July 13-15°C / 55-59°F 21-22°C / 70-71 °F
August 14-16°C / 57-60°F 22-23°C / 71-73 °F

*Please note that these temperature are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swim. As a consequence, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible. We will always try and carry out the crossing on the first opportunity, however, an alternative swim time (later in the day) may be required, depending on conditions on the day.

Group Size and Boat Support

This trip has a maximum group size of eight guests. The group will be split into a maximum of two groups, based on speed, with each group being accompanied by their own safety vessel/escort. 

Boat support on this trip includes one main boat and one support boat to be piloted by your SwimTrek guides and a local boat pilot. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Getting There

While we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. Whichever route you choose to take, we recommend confirming your flights and other travel arrangements as early as possible in order to avoid price rises and availability issues.

The easiest way to get to Craobh Haven is by car, although there is the option to fly into Glasgow International Airport and rent a car too. The postcode needed to get to the meeting point at the start of your trip is PA31 8UA.

Travel to Craobh Haven

From Glasgow, Craobh Haven will take approximately three hours to reach by car. It is also 20 miles south of Oban, which has National Rail and bus links available too. For further details on prices and timetables please see the below information:

Information tickets and timetables for trains to Oban can be found at National Rail

Information tickets and timetables for buses Scotland or the rest of the UK to Oban can be found at City Link.

Information on local buses from Oban to Craobh Haven can be found at West Coast Motors. Please note that the 423 bus from Oban to Craobh Haven does not operate on weekends.

Practical Information

Accommodation and Meals

Should you want to stay in this beautiful area, we suggest staying at the following B&Bs:

Hotel Website Telephone Number
The Dancing Fox* The Dancing Fox (0) 1852 500 657
The Galley of Lorne Inn The Galley of Lorne Inn (0) 1852 500 284
Primrose Cottage, Ardfern Primrose Cottage (0) 1852 500 205
Loch Melfort Hotel, Argyll Loch Melfort Hotel (0) 1852 200 233

*The owner of the Dancing Fox is an open water swimmer with a good understanding of swimmers’ needs, so this is a perfect place to stay after the swim should you need accommodation in the area.

Extra Expenses

You should bring money with you to cover items such as snacks, lunch, drinks, souvenirs, etc. Please note, showers and a changing room are available at Croabh Haven Watersports, however, they do charge £2 per person to use. Croabh Haven Watersports also have a fantastic cafe on site, plus a picnic area by the water’s edge which is ideal for any spectators or family. They even run fishing trips in the evenings during the summer as well as kayaks and paddleboards to hire, please click on the following link for more details Craobh Haven Watersports.

Passports and Visas

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and European Union. Non-residents of the United Kingdom require a full passport (or valid ID card for citizens of other E.U. countries) to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of all E.U. member states, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require a visa to enter the United Kingdom. Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Health Information and Recommended Vaccinations

For comprehensive health information for people travelling to the United Kingdom, including all recommended and required vaccinations, please visit Travel Health Pro. Please note that this information is subject to change and you should re-check this site regularly prior to your trip.

  • The whole experience was excellent: from pre-swim information to the safety briefing and acclimatisation on the day to the swim itself. Neil, our guide, and the boat and rib crew were friendly and informative. The swim was great as conditions were calm. I would have no hesitation in recommending SwimTrek to others.

    Francesca O, UK - 2018
  • I was confident to rely on SwimTrek to safely manage the Corryvreckan swim. It's one the world's great swims for a reason!

    Barry M, UK - 2018
  • Swimming the Corryvreckan was an amazing experience, thanks to SwimTrek and a great group of fellow swimmers

    Sue M, UK - 2018
  • Iconic Corryvreckan swim that more than lived up to expectations

    Andrew D, UK - 2018
  • Stunning location, challenging swim, such a huge sense of achievement.

    Janine C, UK - 2018
  • You’d already exceeded all expectations so when the pod of dolphins arrived to escort us it nearly blew our minds. What a place. What a swim.

    Simon W, UK - 2018
  • Absolutely outstanding experience with wonderful guide/boat crew who made us feel safe and relaxed.

    Ellen T, UK - 2018
  • Fantastic trip, well organised and nice group of people in a beautiful place with an intimidating reputation

    Mike R, UK-2017
  • If you want to go outdoors for a swim there's no better company to go with. just do it!

    Andy W, UK- 2017
  • What better way to spend a day than swimming the gulf of Corryvreackan, through clear waters, past inquisitive seals and finishing beneath the sheer 400 foot cliffs of Scarba.

    Ricky M, UK-2017
  • Outstanding experience, would highly recommend

    Trevor K, UK-2017
  • In our increasingly fast paced world, it was wonderful to be in nature, surrounded by it and feeling reconnected to it. I stopped in the middle of my swim to look around and realised how truly blessed we are to be able to swim in such amazing places. A life-enriching experience. Thank you for refuelling my spiritual batteries-will be back when they begin to run low!

    Seonaid H, UK-2017
  • Swimming the Corryvreckan was a fantastic experience. The weather wasn't particularly kind but Neil, our guide, and boat pilot ensured that we were all briefed thoroughly and achieved the swim safely. Would definitely recommend.

    Charmian A. UK - 2017
  • Truly magical to finally realise a life long ambition to swim the Gulf of Corryvreckan.

    Janine C. UK - 2017

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