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Book with Confidence

Our new flexible booking conditions include a 7-day refund guarantee and free trip changes.

TRIP OVERVIEW

4 days
Short Escape
5km/day
Challenging

Trip Dates

14 Jun - 17 Jun, 2021
Full
13 Jul - 16 Jul, 2021
Full
24 Aug - 27 Aug, 2021
5 Spaces
06 Sep - 09 Sep, 2021
Full
14 Sep - 17 Sep, 2021
5 Spaces

Download trip notes

Tour Highlights

  • Experience safely escorted adventures with special boat access to the most remote Cornish sites, like the Manacles

  • Unlock the secrets of Cornwall’s rugged coast - a haven of Atlantic grey seals and that old haunt of smugglers and brigands

  • Socialise with fellow swimmers at cosy accommodation and cafes on the most south-westerly point of mainland Great Britain

Remote from the rest of Cornwall, the Lizard sits at the farthest, most south-westerly reaches of mainland Britain. The Lizard takes solitude to a whole new level. The landscape is wild and exposed. Steep cliffs succumb to jagged blue green serpentine rock that protrudes out into the Atlantic. It’s the warm climate, long stunning coastline, fabulous scenery and ancient Celtic heritage make it an exciting destination for all adventurous swimmers.

We are based on the East coast of the Lizard which is sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly weather systems. During the trip, we will undertake several exciting swims around the Lizard. Some of the highlights will include swimming from Lizard Point to Kynance Cove, one of the most visually stunning coastlines of the entire British Isles, crossing to Mullion Island and swimming out to the Manacles rocks, the site of many shipwrecks over the centuries.

This trip can also be offered as tailor-made experience. The date of travel and itinerary can be adjusted to suit you. For more information contact us on info@swimtrek.com with the dates you'd like and number of people taking part. We'll be in touch to chat about putting together your dream swimming experience.

Who is this trip for?

Due to the nature of some of the swims and sometimes limited exit points, participants should have experience with open water environments and be happy in occasionally rough conditions.

Swimmers should be capable of completing the average swim distance of 2½ km prior to the start of the trip. The average daily swim distance is around 5 km (split over two swims).

We have given this trip a ‘Challenging’ grading. These trips are for experienced open water swimmers who want to push themselves.


What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula
  • Full safety escort and support from expert swim guides
  • Enjoy one of two lovely accommodation options: the Gallen-Treath Guest House in the fishing village of Porthallow or the lovely self-catered apartments at Porthkerris
  • All breakfasts for guests staying Gallen-Treath Guest House.
  • Two lunches, either as a packed lunch or at casual beach side cafes.
  • Option to arrange own camping or holiday let with our 'Swim Only' package

What's not included?

  • Dinners, though we will generally try to dine together
  • Breakfast when staying at self-catering accommodation

Related Trips

Trip Schedule

Please note that the below daily itineraries are an example of the swims that may take place during the course of your trip, however, actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and conditions. Your SwimTrek guides will determine the most suitable swim locations each day and will communicate the plan with all guests as soon as possible.

Day 1

We meet at Porthkerris in the late afternoon for a pre-trip briefing in which we discuss in detail the plans for the next few days. We then head out for a brief acclimatisation swim just off the beach which is an ideal opportunity to become accustomed to the conditions that we will experience during the rest of the trip. Following a chance to relax we will meet for dinner.

Day 2

After breakfast we carry out a short hike along the stunning South West Coastal Path. In fact, Porthallow stands in the exact midpoint of the SWCP which stretches 630 miles between Minehead in Somerset, to Poole in Dorset. Our walk will be a fair bit shorter as we trek to Nare Point, which overlooks the mouth of the Helford river. It was here in the Second World War that elaborate stage sets lured enemy bombers away from Falmouth.

From Nare Point we swim directly south. It is an excellent initial swim as it is relatively straightforward as we traverse down this sheltered bit of craggy coastline. Above the water, keep an eye out for gannets, puffins and razorbills. We finish in the bay at Porthallow where afterwards we have a chance to relax back at our accommodation before we meet for a nutritious lunch overlooking the beach at Porthkerris.

For the afternoon’s swim we head out from Porthkerris and swim south along the coast, first to the fishing village of Porthoustock which is a short hop away, before passing the old quarry and crossing out to the Manacles rocks which feature interesting reefs, full of anemones, crustaceans and plenty of fish. At the end of the swim, we will have some time for wildlife watching around these rocky outcrops to see what we can discover. It is a great way to finish off this day of swimming on the Lizard’s east coast.

Day 3

This morning is the time for one of the undoubted highlights of the trip as we travel down to Lizard Point. We enter the water via the slipway of the old Victorian lifeboat station at Polpeor Cove which was in use until the early 1960s. Imposing cliffs set the course as we swim towards Kynance Cove. There are several islets and sea stacks which act as swim throughs. It is possible to see the sea floor along most of the route. Also keep an eye out for the numerous Atlantic grey seals or even the elusive basking sharks which feed on nothing more than tiny plankton. They can measure up to 9 metres in length. The first get out point is at Pentreath Beach, which lies just before our target of Kynance Cove. For those that are keen, we will spend some time exploring the myriad passageways and caves that populate this unspoilt cove.

Once we have had time to relax back on land, we head back to Porthkerris where we have lunch and reminisce on the day’s earlier swim. The afternoon’s activity takes us on a very short walk to Porthoustock. From here we swim south past the old stone quarry. A number of lobster and crab pots will guide our way as we round the headland at Lowland Point. The seafloor here contains kelp forests which are home to a variety of species. We finish at Godrevy Cove located near the village of Rosenithon. We walk back to Porthkerris along the South West Coastal Path.

Day 4

This morning we head out to the Lizard’s rugged west coast and to the dramatic Mullion Cove which is still a working harbour. It is protected by both strong sea walls and also Mullion Island itself which lies out to sea. It is this island that is the focus of the morning’s swim as we swim out to it and circumnavigate it before returning back to the mainland. Near the Cove you will discover caves and rock stacks. As we approach Mullion Island you will see a wide variety of birdlife living on it including great black-backed gulls, guillemots, shags and cormorants. The island was formed from an ancient lava flow and has steep drop-offs surrounding it. It is a fantastic swim and a great way to bring this swimming trip of the Lizard to an end. Once back on land, there is time for a last drink and snack before we head back to Porthkerris, where the trip comes to an end.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Porthkerris

Start Time: 16:00 on Day 1

Finish Point: Porthkerris

Finish Time: 12:00 on Day 4

Location Summary

Lizard Peninsula

As well as possessing a dramatic coastline, the Lizard is also home to idyllic coves and small fishing villages which traditionally offered places of refuge for mariners. The South West Coastal Path follows the coast right around the peninsula and is an excellent way to see this spectacular shoreline.

Kynance Cove

Once the haunt of smugglers and brigands, Kynance Cove is one of the undoubted highlights of The Lizard - what with towering cliffs, rock stacks, turquoise water, swim throughs, white sandy beaches and interconnected caves. If the weather allows, the swimming here is exceptional, and no two swims are alike.

Lizard Point

The most southerly point on mainland Great Britain, its curious name comes from the old Cornish “Lis-ardh,” meaning fortress. It offers a haven to the Atlantic grey seals which live amongst this rocky coast. The area is well known for its Serpentine rock. Housel Bay and Church Cove are nearby and ideal spots to swim to from Lizard Point.

The Manacles

A set of rocks just lying out to sea from Porthoustock in eastern Lizard, it is rich in both marine wildlife and shipwrecks. The seabed consists of rocky reefs, vertical rock faces and is a vital habitat for a range of juvenile animals. Over the years more than one hundred ships have come to an end on the Manacles.

Porthallow

Along with nearby Porthkerris, this small traditional fishing village is where we are based and due to its northeast-facing cove is an ideal place to be located due to the prevailing weather in Cornwall coming from the southwest. It once had a thriving pilchard fishing industry. The geology here is varied with pillow lava, slate and hornblende all on show in the rocks along the coast.

Trip Information

Equipment Checklist

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

Item Item
Swimming Costumes (x2) Thermal Long-Sleeve Top
Swimming Goggles (x2)* Aqua Shoes/Sandals
Towel Small Day Pack (Preferably Waterproof)
Woolly Hat and Gloves Sun Hat and Sun Cream
Walking Shoes/Boots Torch or Head Torch
Waterproof Trousers and Jacket Sweater/Fleece
Personal Drink Bottle (x2) Wetsuit**

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

**Due to the variable nature of conditions on these swims, it is advisable to bring a wetsuit along with you to use if required.

SwimTrek will supply swim hats, water and electrolyte drinks. The guides will no longer distribute shared drinks bottles but will fill your personal drink bottles. Please ensure these are clearly marked to help our guides identify yours. If you would like to use a wetsuit, rash vest, snorkel, or fins during your swims, please ensure that you bring these with you. For more on our Updated Packing List check out our: Covid-19 guidance.

Trip Grading

We have given this trip a ‘Challenging’ grading. These trips are for experienced open water swimmers who want to push themselves.

Swimming Distances

Swim Distance
Porthkerris – Porthkerris Point 1 km
Nare Point - Porthallow 2 km
Porthkerris - Manacles 3 km
Lizard Point – Kynance Cove 3 km
Porthoustock – Godrevy Cove 2 km
Mullion Cove – Mullion Island 2 km

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience but you need to be aware that certain marine life such as 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.

Walking Distances

Walk Distance
Porthallow – Nare Point 3 km
Porthkerris - Porthoustock 1.5 km
Godrevy Cove - Porthkerris 3 km
Kynance Cove - Lizard Point 3 km

Walking Conditions

The walking is moderate and we use the South West Coastal Path on all the walks. We would advise either walking shoes or trainers. It will not be possible to avoid some of our walks as there is no road access to some of the swim locations.

Temperatures

Month Water Temperature* Air Temperature*
June 14-17°C / 57-63°F 18-20°C / 64-68°F
July 16-19°C / 61-66°F 20-22°C / 68-72°F
September 15-18°C / 59-64°F 18-21°C / 65-70°F

*Please note that these temperatures 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 swims. Therefore, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. As Cornwall has some of the most exposed land in Europe the weather will play a key factor in all of our swims, especially the ones on the south coast (Lizard Point – Kynance Cove) and west coast (Mullion Island). Should conditions not permit us to complete a scheduled swim, then an alternative swim will be offered and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip.

Group Size and Boat Support

This trip has a maximum group size of 10. The group will be split into a maximum of two groups, based on speed and ability. Each group will be accompanied by their own safety support.

Boat support on this trip includes a combination of main hard boat or motorised inflatable and recue boards/kayaks. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

For some of the swims we travel to the swim routes by road and meet our escort boats at the swim start. Due to restricted access around the coast, we may also travel to and from the swim location on board the main hard boat or inflatable RIBs.

Getting There

The easiest way to reach the Lizard Peninsula is to drive, however, you can also reach Porthkerris and Porthallow with public transport. While we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only.

As SwimTrekkers come from all over the world, and join our swimming holidays in numerous destinations, we don't currently offer flights or transport as part of our SwimTrek packages. We do however want to do as much as we can to ensure that our guests get the best deals when travelling to one of our trips so check out SwimTrek's tips to help you get the best deals for your flights.

Driving to the Lizard, Porthkerris and Porthallow

For those wishing to drive to the Lizard Peninsula the postcode you will need for SatNav is TR12 6PL for the Gallen-Treath Guest House in Porthallow, where there is free parking. For Porthkerris self-catering accommodation use TR12 6QJ. Parking here is also free of charge for residents.

Getting to Porthallow or Porthkerris via Public Transport

Great Western Rail (GWR) operate to Penmere and Falmouth Town stations. For full details of the trains, we suggest using the www.nationalrail.co.uk website. There are also good coach services to Falmouth.

The onward journey to Porthkerris or Porthallow will be by taxi which takes about 50 minutes to cover around 25 miles and likely to cost around £80 each way. We use Telstar Taxis, and if you would like to do the same, they can be contacted directly on mobile 07515 428 938 or via email at telstartaxis@yahoo.com or via their website.

Practical Information

Accommodation

For this tour we offer two accommodation options: Gallen-Treath Guest House (www.gallen-treath.com) in the small fishing village of Porthallow, which includes breakfast, or self-catering accommodation directly at Porthkerris (www.porthkerris.com/on-site-self-catering-accommodation). For those wishing to bring their own tent, caravan or campervan there is a camp site at Porthkerris.

For this trip we have a very limited number of what we call “Swim Only” spaces, for those who prefer to arrange their own accommodation. Please contact our Customer Team to check if we have any “Swim Only” spaces available before booking your own accommodation or choosing to camp. If you choose to arrange your own accommodation, please ensure it is either located close to the accommodation we arrange in Porthallow or Porthkerris, or that you have a car with you so you can travel easily to our swim locations.

Our accommodation is based on twin-share rooms with en suite facilities. There are a limited number of single supplement rooms which can be reserved during the booking process, subject to availability.

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation and Trip Extension Options

If you require additional nights’ accommodation before or after the SwimTrek tour, this can be arranged directly. To check availability at the Gallen-Treath you should contact the guest house directly at gallentreath@btclick.com. For the self-catering accommodation, the contact is info@porthkerris.com. This is also the contact email for the camping at Porthkerris.

Food and Drink

All breakfasts are included when staying in our guest house. No breakfast is included in self-catering accommodation or on Swim Only. Two simple lunches are included either as a packed lunch or we will finish swims near casual beach side cafes. Dinners are not included. For dinners we will generally dine together, but you are free to choose where and with whom you would like to dine.

Extra Activities

The area offers much to do beyond swimming, such as walking the South West Coast Path from Kennack Sands to Cadgwith Cove, visiting Cornwall’s most southerly land lighthouse or arranging a trip out to the National Seal Sanctuary located in Gweek. It is well worth extending your visit!

Money, Extra Expenses and Tipping

You should bring extra money with you to cover items such as entertainment, dinner, snacks, and souvenirs. The local currency in the UK is British Pound Sterling (£).

In some countries tipping, gratuities, is not part of the culture in others it has become an expected norm. We believe that tipping is entirely at your discretion. If you have been provided with excellent service it may be something you wish to do. Your SwimTrek Guides can advise on local norms for service providers like boat crew, waiters or taxis. Nothing is expected for your SwimTrek Guides, but many groups like to present something to the guides at the end of the trip.

Passports and Visas

Non-residents of the UK require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of all EU member states, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require a visa to enter the UK. Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Travel Insurance

We consider comprehensive travel insurance to be essential, and we strongly recommend that you purchase insurance which includes, but is not limited to, cover for illness, accident, emergency repatriation, ambulance, air ambulance, helicopter rescue services, cancellation, lost luggage and delays. Your travel insurance should also cover you for open water swimming and any other activity listed in your trip itinerary (including races and competitions, where applicable). Please read your policy details carefully and remember to take them with you on your trip for your own reference. For further information about travel insurance, please visit: www.swimtrek.com/travel-insurance.

Health Information and Recommended Vaccinations

For comprehensive health information for people travelling to the UK, 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.

Internet Access, Electricity and Travel Plugs

For a useful source of information on the different electrical outlets, electrical plugs, and electric sockets, please visit: worldstandards.eu.

Book with Confidence

Our new flexible booking conditions include a 7-day refund guarantee and free trip changes.