Frequently Asked QuestionsKessock Ferry Swim

Posted: Fri 1 Oct 2021

This list is being updated all the time, please do keep checking back.

Can I use flippers, fins or paddles?

Yes. Many swimmers feel more confident using these, or use them to aid recovery from injuries.

Can I fundraise for other charities?

Unfortunately not. Staging the swim is a massive undertaking for us. We're a very small independent charity and the proceeds raised from the swim are vital for our long-term future. However we also want to share the success of the swim with other charities, particularly those local to Merkinch. That's why we pass on 25% of all sponsorship funds raised to our annual Official Charity Partner. The Charity Partner is also asked to contribute volunteer time to the staging of the event, so it would be unfair to divert funds to other charities.

If there is a particular local charity you are passionate about, please tell us about it and it can be considered as a future Official Charity Partner.

How fast do I need to swim?

The swim distance is approximately 1200m. This may vary on the day as precise tidal effects on a swimmer are inherently unpredictable. You should be confident that you can complete this distance in no more than 50 - 55 minutes. After that time the tide starts to run faster and all swimmers will have to be out of the water.

Why can't I just drive to the event?

Merkinch & South Kessock are residential areas. There simply isn't any suitable parking for hundreds of cars. If there was, we'd be using it! If hundreds of cars end up choking the quiet streets near the event centre it will really upset local residents, and rightly so. We've weighed up the options very carefully and come up with the best solution. Now we're relying on all our swimmers to help us out by following our parking instructions. If you're travelling from further afield, why not try to book accommodation within walking distance of the event centre?

Walking route from parking to event centre
1.5km from Glendoe Terr. to South Kessock turning circle. Copyright Ordnance Survey
What's the risk from jellyfish stings?

It's impossible to quantify the risk accurately. Harmless moon jellyfish are common. Lion's Mane jellyfish have been encountered in the Beauly Firth, but not often. You can read more about them on the Wildlife Trust website at this link. We have professional event medical cover in place, who will treat you for stings if you're unlucky enough to swim through any tentacles. This might be one factor when you're deciding what to wear for the swim: wetsuits undoubtedly offer greater protection from the stinging tentacles.

I've booked but can no longer make it to the event. Can I get a refund or give my place to someone else?

Please read the full terms and conditions before you pay. There is an initial 14 day cooling off period when you can get a refund minus a £10 admin charge. After that it is no longer possible to get a refund. Up until 8 weeks before the event, you can exchange your place with someone else under certain strict criteria (please read full T&C's). After that time it will no longer be possible to exchange.

We acknowledge that this is a strict policy. In common with many similar charitable events, we have to protect our finances once we have paid out large sums for the deposits on e.g marquees, catering and portaloos.

Can I just do the swim one-way?

After a lot of careful thought we decided not to offer a one-way option in 2022. The logistics of a bus shuttle over to North Kessock were just too much this time around. We plan to introduce this option in future years.

If you find you are unable to continue when you get to the turnaround at North Kessock, remember that there will be a first aid station at North Kessock, and a minibus to take retired swimmers back to the event centre. That said, please remember that you should only enter this event if you are confident that you can complete the full approx. 1200m distance unaided. But we know even the fittest swimmers have off days, hence the 'get out clause' at North Kessock.

What's the water quality like?

There is a long history of swimming in the Beauly Firth, though it is not listed by Scottish Environment Protection Agency as a Bathing Water location. There are Bathing Water locations further out in the Moray Firth at Rosemarkie & Nairn. Every year since 2014, SEPA have classified the surface water in the Beauly Firth as "High Quality", the highest classification. Ultimately though, as with many outdoor swimming locations, we have no way of guaranteeing the water quality for swimming.

Do I have to use the online fundraising platform?

If you'd like to use a good old-fashioned sponsorship form, we've provided one for you to download by clicking here: Sponsorship Form Once you've gathered in all the money from your sponsors, we can accept it in cash, or you can make a bank transfer / cheque payment to us.

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