With sunny weather forecast, we expected a good turn-out for this year’s Dart 10k. And we weren’t disappointed. Nearly 1500 swimmers set their alarms, clambered out of bed, and made their way to Totnes beneath a bright harvest moon to help us celebrate 10 years of the Dart 10k.
Conditions in the river were described as “tropical” and “like a bath”. Many of our returning Dart 10k swimmers were overheard saying that it had been the best conditions they had experienced in the river. With temperatures creeping up towards 17 degrees, it certainly didn’t put people off. One of our largest ever swim fields set off on Saturday morning, accompanied by African drumming and our ever-present water safety team.
“Weather by mother nature, killer event by the Dart 10k team. Thanks for the experience. Be seeing you next year!” – Grant Robinson
The journey down the Dart was different for everyone. Some stopped to soak in the views, others gritted their teeth and struck out for the finish, with times ranging from an hour and three quarters through to a little over four hours.
It was a year of celebrations and coming together. There were those celebrating their tenth swim, and those celebrating their first. One incredible swimmer, David Edwards, had been with us every year since the start.
Some swam to celebrate the memories of swimmers no longer with us; swimmers who had loved the Dart 10k themselves. Some swam to raise money to help others. Some swam to celebrate the act of swimming itself.
The warm water and the colder, autumnal air combined to form a bank of fog across the river early on Sunday morning. With visibility down to just a few metres on some sections of the river, there was nothing for it but to push the start times back by half an hour. As the sun gathered strength and the mist began to burn away, the anticipation grew. A final check was carried out and then, with a cheer from the crowd, it was announced that we were ready to go!
In amongst the Sunday swimmers were over 40 Double Dippers, taking their second journey down the river that weekend. They joined our gold capped swimmers (who were celebrating their third or more swim) and our Golden Ticket swimmers (who had chosen to enter all three of our events) in the OSS marquee at the finish for a glass of bubbly and a chat with our friendly volunteers.
It’s our volunteers who make each OSS event special. They might be handing you a Clif Bar at Registration, waving you into the water or helping you out at the other end, serving you some Clipper hot chocolate, or helping you on your way at the end of the event.
Wherever you encountered them, they will have been a key part of making the day special.
“An extra big thank you to all the volunteers, who were SO kind and caring. The people on the feeding pontoons really cheered me up when I was cold (by praising my lipstick!) and the lady who spotted that I needed the warming tent at the end was lovely too. Thank you!” – Lucy Devine
“Fantastic swim today, thank you for the excellent organisation, all the support in the water what a wonderful friendly supportive group of folk. The hot chocolate was delicious, love the mug and love the very nice lady with the sudocream and her very kind words.” – Jeanette Brennock
More than 500 swimmers came together this year to raise over £200,000 for our charity partner Level Water, who provide specialist one-to-one swimming lessons for children with physical and sensory disabilities.
“The amount raised is beyond our wildest expectations and is down to this incredible community of outdoor swimmers and a wonderful, pure event. We want to thank all swimmers who raised money on our behalf but there are not enough words to truly express our gratitude. Just amazing” said Mark Fox from Level Water.
We were joined on Saturday by official event photographer, Jess Rose.
Jess’ photos (JR), along with contributions from Swim Champ Katie Maggs (KM), volunteer Tim Bridges (TB), and photographer Jojo Harper (JH), can be found in the Event Gallery.
Please feel free to download and use photos but please credit the photographer (initials in the photo file name) and the Outdoor Swimming Society.
We were also joined at this special Dart 10k by Leo Gundle, one of the OSS Swim Champs, who shot and edited a special, celebratory film to mark the occasion.
Whilst all of us at the OSS had a great time and can’t wait to do it all over again, we do understand that some people may have some suggestions for future improvements. Please keep an eye out for a feedback survey which will be coming out at the end of this year’s event season.
Thank you to all of those who supported the event, including Alpkit, Level Water, the local communities, Event Water Safety, and our team of volunteers.
Thanks also to our supporting sponsors: Clif Bar, Clipper, Red Original, Swimtrek, and Tideford Organics.