Swim through over 800 years of history as you proceed towards the Thames. The expanse of Hadleigh Country Park flanks this area of the Essex Marshes and was the location of the 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike Course where thousands flocked. Hadleigh Castle dominates this landscape and you'll swim in the shadow of its romantic ruins. This royal castle was erected in 1213 and protected the Thames Estuary from the French during the 100 year war as well as being King Edward III favourite retreat.
Into its 2nd year, Swim Safaris has included this 4k Swimming adventure to its 2019 list of events and is arguably the most unique on the Essex open water calendar. The route is a journey punctuated by landmarks such as Hadleigh Castle, Leigh Saltmarshes and Two Tree Island Nature Reserve. Wildlife is everywhere here, so be on the look-out for Cormorants, Little Egrets and maybe spot a friendly Seal.
The event is supported by volunteers from the local and swimming community who make it special. It’s not a race, but a journey-So whatever your level, you will find it to be a rewarding experience.
Here are a few tips on how the event flows and what to expect:
Turn up to register at the Event HQ the morning of the swim and we'll give you your event pack with swim hat and your wristband for your allocated bus shuttle
Wetsuit swimmers can get changed at the Event HQ.
Non wetsuit swimmers can take their bag with them to the start, with baggage transport to the finish.
You board the shuttle bus at 12 midday with your fellow participants, which will take you to the start line.
We have a relaxed atmosphere to prepare you for your swim and a full event briefing is given to you before entering the water at the start.
As you set off, water safety kayakers and support boats are there to look out for and support you.
Support watercraft will direct swimmers along the route
The distance is around 4 km / 2.5 miles
At the finish, you will be greeted with your medal round your neck, a hot drink and homemade cake!
Both non-wetsuit and wetsuit swimmers can change at the finish area.
Transport to the start line of your swim
Professional water safety team supporting the swim including power boats, kayaks, lifeguards and first aiders
Swim Safaris event medal to each participant
Free parking on race day for participants and spectators
Feed stations along the route providing water, bananas & jelly babies!
Swim Safaris event swim hat to each participant
Swim Safaris event memento
Professional photographer & After Movie to show your friends
Personal belongings transported to the finish line
Hot drinks and refreshments
All swimmers will need to be acclimatized to outdoor swim temperatures by the day, and to have experience of chop and open water.
Swimmers start in one of two speed waves which you will select at the time of booking. Whatever wave you start in though, most swimmers arrive around the same time and the waves blend together towards the end of the swim.
The entry system asks for your mile pace. We recommend you put down a good time that you'd swim a mile in when in a pool or doing an open water event.
On the day the more relaxed pace swimmers head off first and then the slightly speedier paced wave goes around 25 mins after. You'll have a much better experience during the swim if you put down an accurate swim time and are grouped correctly.
Although this event is about taking part and completing the journey, we do have prizes for the fastest in each age group for both wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimmers.
We have a cut-off swim time of 60 minutes per mile, so the last swimmer will be out of the water by approx. 2.30 pm. Which is normally plenty of time for even the most relaxed swimmers taking in the view and having a chat!
The 4 km route starts at the Dauntless Boatyard’s Slipway and finishes at the Two Tree Island Nature Reserve. Support watercraft and safety personal will direct swimmers accordingly.
There is a tea/coffee and a homemade cake available at the start/finish line . With a great open area to admire the view, supporters can anticipate the arrival of swimmers in comfort.
This is an A to B swim, starting at The Dauntless Boatyard and finishing at Two Tree Island Nature Reserve Leigh-on-sea. It draws supporters as well as swimmers, and we cater for them with food and entertainment. We offer coaches to swimmers (free, pre booking not required).
If you are bringing a car you are able to park for free at Two Tree Island Car Park. Postcode SS9 2GB. This is where Event HQ is located and where the coach will leave from to take you to the start of your swim.
We have worked with a professional safety team since the inception of Swim Safaris that will keep you safe every step of the way. Swimmers are flanked by professionally qualified lifeguards and first aiders throughout the swim including Powerboats. There will be boat-based feed stations along the route providing water, bananas and jelly babies.
You must wear a swim tow-float/dry bag for this event.
Medals and prizes will be presented and if you take time to enjoy the post swim refreshments and to swap adventure stories then expect to be on the road by around 3.15pm.
Registration will be open at Event HQ on Saturday morning from 11.00am and close at 11.45am
Once registered you will then board the coach at 12am for the short ride to the Start line.
Closing date for all entries is 1st March.
This is going to be one for the memory bank, so grab your place on the start line and be ready to share some happy memories with your friends
If you are not able to use your ticket for any reason (including medical, or factors outside of your control) your have the option is to give/sell it to a friend in the transfer window, which will run from the day tickets sell until 1st March deadline. After 1st March, your ticket is yours to keep and no transfers are possible.
Please note that should the event be cancelled due to extreme conditions which includes, but is not limited to, high winds and heavy rain impeding the view of the swimmers by the safety cover on the day, or unexpected pollution in the water, no refunds will be given. Taking out event insurance that would allow refunds or a replacement event in this unlikely situation would add significantly to the ticket price and the view has been taken that it is better to have a lower ticket price and small risk.
Insurance against extreme weather cancellation is possible to buy separately, for example through your travel insurance or specialist ticket insurance policies. Alternatively you can accept the small risk of not getting a refund in the case of event cancellation.
Our thanks go Dauntless Boatyard Ltd and to the many individuals and local groups for their support.
Other swimmers give fast answers to common questions on the Facebook event page.
The uber friendly local The Open Water Swimming Coach Facebook Group will help you connect with others in the area.
Almost all swimmers general questions are answered in the resources above, however if you have questions that are specific to your entry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the last Safari here
So whether it’s your first taste of open water swimming, or you’re looking for your next adventure, “The Benfleet Creek 4k” is an open water swimming challenge for everyone.