Wetsuits and Equipment FAQs

I am worried about getting cold, is there anything extra I can do?

Most importantly make sure that you cold acclimatize by open water swimming on a regular basis before the event. “Regular” is the key word here, try swimming in the sea or your local river or lake at least once a fortnight and you will reap the rewards on event day. Remember that you will generate a significant amount of heat when swimming at a good pace which will help. Look out for our articles on cold water acclimatization and swimming event preparation, coming soon…

Wearing a neoprene swim cap, rash vest, swim socks and swimming gloves can make a big difference if you feel the cold. Make sure you train with them before the event and ensure that you have a really close fit to get the most from your neoprene accessories.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

A full triathlon or swimming wetsuit is compulsory unless by prior arrangement with the Head to the Hills safety team and where your previous experience of open water distance swimming is documented and approved (please see pre-requisites below).

Shorty wetsuits are not allowed. The water can be very cold in Buttermere even in June (it can dip below 10oC) and a full, comfortable wetsuit forms a major part of the safety requirements for this event.

What are the Pre-Requisites for swimming without a wetsuit?

There will be a few places available for swimmers not wearing a wetsuit for the 5 and 10km distance only. These swimmers must provide their own competent kayak escort for the event. Please don’t be offended if we turn your application down; we only have a small number of places available due to restrictions. Apply to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Pre-requisite for 5km and 10km distance include being able to swim 5km in under 1hr 45mins and 10km in under 3hrs 30mins respectively, in open water without the use of a wetsuit, as well as the completion of swims of similar distances and conditions swum under BLDSA or CSA rules.  

I need to buy or hire a wetsuit, any advice?

Hire: We may have a number of wetsuits to hire please check back on this.

Buy: All entrants get a £10 Voucher which entitles the participant to an extra £10 off swimming wetsuits bought online from www.headtothehills.co.uk, this is on top of any existing online discount. It’s a cracking deal!

Please follow this link to some essential advice on fitting a swimming wetsuit 

Where can I buy equipment for the swim? 

Wetsuits, goggles, Bodyglide anti-chafe, wetsuits and neoprene swimming socks, gloves, swim caps, etc can be bought online from www.headtothehills.co.uk/openwaterswimming . Don’t forget to use your £10 wetsuit voucher. We will have a limited selection of product at the event for last minute emergencies, cash only purchases. Please ask at the Event HQ during registration.

How can I claim my wetsuit discount from HeadtotheHills?

All entrants to the Head to the Hills Utterly Buttermere Swim get a £10 wetsuit voucher to spend online at www.headtothehills.co.uk, the £10 voucher will be applied on top of any existing website discount. The wetsuit must be bought online by the event participant.

We will email the voucher with the swim ‘welcome’ email, which will be sent to the email address supplied by the participant.  

Wetsuits will be available online at HeadtotheHills.co.uk from early April 2013 while stocks last.

How can I help keep Buttermere special?

Buttermere is a beautifully clear Lake and it needs our help to keep it that way.

Help protect our freshwaters from the spread of invasive non-native species by following these simple steps before & after you swim:

1) Check your equipment for bits of weed and mud
2) Clean and wash all equipment
3) Dry all equipment

Find out more from Cumbria Freshwater Initiative at www.scrt.co.uk/cfinns

Please take ALL litter away with you and dispose of properly. Thank you.

Find out more about our environment protection policy.

Swim with Us

Great Course

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Choice of distances
Choose the distance for you 1500m, 5k or 10K

An Awesome Lake

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Lake facts
Buttermere is 1.5m long by 3/4mile wide it's 22.86m deep (75feet).

Challenge Yourself

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Achieve something amazing
Come and swim with an amazing group of people who just want to make sure you meet your own personal goal.