Image: Dart 2014 by Anna Barclay

Dart 10k

Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September, 2017

© Anna Barclay
Enter Dart 10k

The Dart 10k is one of the finest open water swims in the UK. Now in its eighth year, the event welcomes 1600 swimmers to the town of Totnes to follow the River Dart course down to the estuary at Dittisham.

The Dart 10k was the first, and is arguably the finest, 10k swim on the open water calendar and 2017 is its eighth year. It has grown from 200 swimmers to 1600. The course of the Dart 10K is a unique journey punctuated by landmarks such as the Cormorant Tree, the white rock, Sharpham boat house and Bow Creek. It’s supported by volunteers from the local and swimming community who make it special. It’s not a race – we have some fantastic and some very fast swimmers, we have skin swimmers, disabled swimmers, newbies, butterfly swimmers – but whatever the level, the language of the day is different. It’s a journey, not a race, and there’s room for everyone in the river.

The day ends with good times! The swim finishes on the village green in Dittisham where there’s a mini-festival feel, with local food suppliers, a children’s playground, all the fun of the fair as swimmers celebrate. With deck chairs and a great view, supporters can wile away as many hours as it takes you to get there.

Tickets release will be 7am on 23 March 2017 on this webpage.

Keeping you safe and supported

We have worked with a remarkable professional safety team since the start of the Dart that keep you safe every step of the way. Swimmers are flanked by professionally qualified employed lifeguards throughout the swim. There are two feeding stations on route with drinks and jelly babies, at around 4km and 8km.

Swim Times & Wave Speeds

Swimmers start in one of four speed waves which you will select at the time of booking. The four waves are categorised according to the time it takes you to swim a mile of relaxed continuous front crawl in a pool, without big pushes off. A mile is 64 lengths of a 25m pool. Selecting the right wave means you will initially swim with others the same pace as you. Whatever wave you start in though, most swimmers arrive around the same time as the waves blend together towards the end of the swim. There’s no need to try to estimate or adjust the wave you think you “should” be in – just select your wave according to your real pace as described above.

This swim is not suitable for plus-40-minute milers.

  • Leisurely wave: 35 – 40 minutes
  • Medium wave: 30 – 35 minutes
  • Fast wave: 25 – 30 minutes
  • Elite: Less than 25 minutes

Swimmers will be notified of their swim times (make sure your mobile number is correct when you register). For on the day timings, see ‘event timings’ below.

Food & Entertainment

There are a range of food stalls at the start and as the swim finishes on the village green at Dittisham with food and entertainment including: hot tubs (swimmers only, no wetsuits); children’s crafts; storytelling; a photo booth; local bands and singers; and a children’s playground at the Ham. With deck chairs available to admire the view, supporters can anticipate the arrival of swimmers in comfort.

Who can take part?

There’s plenty of time between now and the event for almost any swimmer who is happy in the water to take part in the Dart 10k. All you need to do is: commit to sufficient training – this may mean a swim lesson or two for your stroke; start fitness training so you’re ready for the distance; and, come May or June, get outdoors experience. All swimmers will need to be acclimatised to outdoor swim temperatures by the day, and to have experience of chop and open water. See our guides to swimming outdoors and training programmes.

The swim is for over 16s. If under 18 you must have parental consent.

© Anna Barclay
© Anna Barclay
© Anna Barclay


This is an A to B swim, starting at Longmarsh Totnes and finishing at Dittisham Ham. It draws many supporters as well as swimmers, and we cater for them with food and entertainment. We offer coaches to spectators (with paid prebooking) as well as swimmers (free, prebooking not required) to enable car free weekends. To assist planning, here are approximate timings. These may be subject to change – please check back before event day and read event emails.

If you are bringing a car your choices are to park at Totnes, the event start, and then take a coach back to the start after your swim. Or to park at Cott Farm in Dittisham, the event finish, and take a coach up to the start before your swim. Please note Devon roads are windy and slow, and the carpark at Cott Farm, Dittisham is a steep 800m walk from the event finish on the Ham. Coaches drop closer to the Ham, which may make them a preferable choice in some cases. There is very limited disabled parking at the Ham (please contact the event manager) but it is not possible for event traffic other than these ticket holders to enter the village for drop offs.

FRIDAY Approximate Timings

  • 4.30 – 7.30pm Pre event registration for Saturday swimmers at Longmarsh, Totnes (the swim start)

SATURDAY Approximate Timings

  • 7am Swimmers parking at Dittisham (event finish) and taking a coach to the start begin boarding
  • 7am Registration opens at Longmarsh, Totnes
  • 9.05 Leisurely Wave
  • 9.20 Medium Wave
  • 9.35 Fast Wave
  • 9.50 Elite Wave
  • 10am -1pm Sunday swimmers can register at Longmarsh, Totnes
  • 10.20am Spectator coaches take spectators parking at Totnes down to the swim finish, Dittisham Ham
  • 11.45am – 1.45pm: Swimmers arrive at the swim finish, Dittisham Ham. Children’s entertainment on the Ham starts at 11.15am with Nature Workshops, and there is food and a playground for spectators arriving at this time  and crabbing from Dittisham Quay in front of the Ferryboat pub.
  • 12 – 2.30pm: Coaches leave Dittisham to take swimmers and spectators who have parked at Totnes back to the start.

SUNDAY Approximate Timings

  • 7.45am Swimmers parking at Dittisham (event finish) and taking a coach to the start begin boarding
  • 7.45am Registration opens at Longmarsh, Totnes
  • 9.45 Leisurely Wave
  • 10.00 Medium Wave
  • 10.15 Fast Wave
  • 10.30 Elite Wave
  • 11.00 Spectator coaches take spectators parking at Totnes down to the swim finish, Dittisham Ham. Children’s entertainment on the Ham starts at 11.45am with Nature Workshops, and there is food and a playground for spectators arriving at this time, and crabbing from Dittisham Quay in front of the Ferryboat pub.
  • 12.20-1.45pm: Swimmers arrive at the finish, Dittisham Ham
  • 12.50-3.15pm: Coaches leave Dittisham to take swimmers and spectators who have parked at Totnes back to the start.
Anna Barclay


Swimmers are free to raise money for any charity (or none), and this year we have three charity partners. These charities all have guaranteed places available to take part in the swim with a minimum fundraising commitment.

© Anna Barclay
Katia Vastiau
© Anna Barclay

Suits & Skins

Skin swimming is a noble tradition and growing in popularity, and every year we welcome skin swimmers to the Dart.

Skin swimmers need to apply to swim in in skins, with permission granted on the basis of prior proven experience of swims of this length and temperature, whether undertaken personally or as part of an event, and on the basis of current training. In granting permission to swim in skins, we are looking for evidence of similar prior experience and/or a recent monitored two hour swim in similar temperature water. Please note that non-wetsuit permission cannot be guaranteed at entry because it depends on current training. Tickets are therefore sold as “wetsuits compulsory” in spring. Non-wetsuit application forms are distributed by email on 15 June and must be returned by 15 July. We then consider your application within ten days and communicate our decision back to applicants by 24 July at the latest.

Not all applications are permitted, and if yours is rejected you will need to swim in a wetsuit. Why? To keep you safe. Only those who have undergone a steady and committed programme of acclimatisation will be able to do a swim of this length in skins. Because safety cover is shared, rather than one to one, the Dart10k is not the place to test out your endurance to cold for the first time. If you are not given permission you will need to swim in a wetsuit or transfer your ticket to another swimmer in a week-long window ending on 31 July. If you do not have your wetsuit on or permission for a skin-swim granted in advance, you will not be able to swim.


The Dart10k is a wetsuit event. All swimmers are to wear a full length, ankle-to-wrist neoprene swimming wetsuit unless permission has been been sought and granted by the events team before 15 July (see skins, above). If you want to wear any variation of a full length, ankle-to-wrist neoprene swimming wetsuit (eg no arms, short legs) then please apply to the event manager using the skins form stating your current training in this suit. Please do not attempt a 10k in a surf wetsuit – the drag, buoyancy and comparative lack of flexibility will make your life unnecessarily difficult.


Most people swim front crawl, but we have had swimmers do the 10k butterfly and breaststroke. Breaststroke is not generally recommended because it’s hard on the knees to swim this distance in a wetsuit.


We welcome and can generally accommodate swimmers with physical disabilities who would like to swim. It is essential that those with disabilities, or any concern about their ability to take part in this event, should seek their doctor’s advice before taking part. Swimmers with physical disabilities who would like to swim should email the event manager prior to registration, and will be accommodated within the existing water safety provision wherever possible (no separate arrangements can be made).

© Anna Barclay
Anna Barclay
Anna Barclay

No Tow Floats or Fins

OSS events are tow-float free. We have ample safety cover who watch swimmers via their brightly coloured hats. Tow floats makes sighting swimmers harder, by doubling the number of brightly coloured objects in the water, and may entangle other swimmers. It is sometimes stated that tow floats make retrieving an unconscious swimmer easier, however they are not tested or rated to act as a safety device in this way.

There are feeding stations at the 4km and 8km marks where you can top up on water and energy. These stations carry water, Lucozade, jelly babies and flapjack. Snorkels and fins are not permitted as the hard edges risk injuring other swimmers at the swim start in particular. Most swimmers with personal medication tuck it up the sleeve of their wetsuit. If this doesn’t cover your needs and you want to use a tow float for the purpose please contact the event manager.

Tickets are transferable (until 31 July) but non-refundable

After the statutory 14 day cooling off period, tickets cannot be refunded or deferred for any reason, including injury, medical issues, or factors outside of your control. Swimmers can transfer their place to another OSS member for a cost until 31 July 2017. (It’s free to become an OSS member). After 31 July, your ticket is yours to keep and no transfers are possible. Please make a note of this transfer window!

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. Please see our Event Terms for more information.

Insurance against extreme weather cancellation is available separately

For example from . Please note this is a totally separate organisation from the OSS and you can chose to buy insurance against the possibility of the event being cancelled due to extreme weather from this or any other company. Alternatively you can accept the small risk of not getting a refund in the case of event cancellation.

© Anna Barclay
© Anna Barclay
© Anna Barclay


Our thanks go to Dittisham Council, Totnes Council, Dittisham Sailing Club and many individuals and local groups for their support. We also thank the following brands for their freebies for swimmers courtesy of:


The Dart 10k relies on shoals of volunteers to make the swim possible, working hard to keep swimmers safe and supported. If you’d like to know more about joining the #OSSTeam for the weekend, with access to guaranteed event entry please read this volunteering factsheet and email

Entry information

You can enter through this webpage on 23 March 2017 at 7am. Tickets sell out fast every year – be ready! To enter you’ll need a payment card (debit/credit) and the personal details of everyone that you want to buy a ticket for. You can buy tickets for friends at the same time as your own ticket.

You have 15 minutes to complete the registration per ticket once the tickets are in your “basket” so you will need to have the following information to hand for each swimmer that you’re registering:

  • Whether you would like a coach before of after their swim
  • Speed Wave (see definitions above)
  • Age (if you would like it listed on the results)
  • Mobile number
  • Your next of kin’s name and number
  • Applying for a skin swim / wetsuit swim (see information above)

Tickets cost £98 for a standard entry.

More Questions & Help

Almost all swimmers’ questions are answered in the resources above, however if you need further help please email us.

Location: Totnes to Dittisham
Enter Dart 10k