Bwrlwm Bermo/Hurly Burly

Saturday 28th September, 2019

Enter Bwrlwm Bermo/Hurly Burly

Bwrlwm Bermo/ The Hurly Burly

Cymdeithas Nofio Awyr Agored/ The Outdoor Swimming Society

28 September 2019

Saturday 28th September: Notice to participants: The Outdoor Swimming Society event team would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who did not see the notifications that the Hurly Burly 2019 was cancelled and who turned up to run and swim.

This is the first time we have had to pull an event, and last week we spent a lot of time working out contingencies for the event but we did not examine cancellation. This was because until Thursday night, when notifications were put out, we did not think this would be necessary. The cancellation was communicated by email, social media and on this page (all of those channels also being used to communicate the Yellow Warning status of the event on Tuesday.)

Huge apologies to those affected, and thanks to everyone who has been in touch. The Event Team are still all at work de-rigging the event but are back in the office at the start of next week and get back to you as soon as we can. Please use for event comment.


We are gutted to announce that the Hurly Burly is a no go.

As you will be aware from communications earlier in the week there is severe weather in the area for the weekend of the event. The biggest day of the storm comes on Friday with a yellow weather warning for Saturday, high winds, gusts of up to 37mph, and rain that is predicted to cause the river to be in flood.

The conditions have created various show-stoppers:

  • The combination of heavy rain on Friday (70 mm is predicted between now and Saturday morning) – on top of substantial rain this week and a massive tide – is leading to higher river levels that there have been in some time. This means large amounts of debris from the shoreline are likely to be released into the water, and that the size and weight of debris will be significant by Saturday. The estuary is fast moving and swimmers therefore face injury. The Mawddach is fed by the mountains around it: even if it doesn’t rain in Barmouth tomorrow, the incoming front means it will rain in the catchment area and the river will be in flood.
  • A strong crosswind on the bridge, combined with rain on a wooden surface, goes beyond being unpleasant for runners.
  • The forecast has been getting worse over the week. We would not normally cancel on the basis of a forecast, particularly in mountainous and coastal regions where conditions are unpredictable. However we are now close to the event with no expectation of conditions becoming workable: the forecast is for wind of around 23mph with gusts of up to 37mph (this is storm force 5 up to storm force 8 – a bracket of weather where white caps form, wires whistle, ‘heaping seas’ and waves are seen, and twigs start to break off trees).

Everyone working on and coming to this event loves a bit of weather. We are sincerely sorry that this year we couldn’t get out there, with the sun rising and the firepits burning, to enjoy it together.

As explained at the time of booking, we do not hold cancellation insurance and it is therefore not possible to offer refunds or deferments for your entry. We appreciate the disappointment that this will cause: for most of you this has been on your horizon for as long as it is on ours, with all of us working towards it in different ways. We hope there have been some pluses on the journey towards it and are deeply sorry that it is a no go, but we’ve taken advice from every stakeholder and the view of it is unanimous.

Please remember to let accommodation and restaurant bookings know if this alters your travel plans for the weekend.

If you have thoughts and comments you would like to share, please email If you pre-ordered merchandise it will be posted to you (or email for a refund).


Our swims are always about the journey (the only race is with yourself) and what a journey this is! It took us 7 years of looking to find a swim route that rivals the Dart 10k, and this is it.

Set in a North Wales on the edge of Snowdonia, this swim is the most beautiful we have ever found. It starts on the sandy beach of Barmouth, and takes swimmers underneath Barmouth Bridge, a mile and an iconic half wide railway bridge. The first part of the swim is up the wide and sandy estuary (hopefully with the wind behind us) with mountains on either side, and then it’s through ‘the narrows’ and into a more sheltered part of the estuary.

The whole swim takes place on a fast, incoming Spring tide that works like a bore to assist your swim. Past the narrows the water speeds up further, and the landscape becomes pastoral, the banks closer to you.

The swim ends at Penmaenpool, where we will get changed, gather for hot food and to warm up on fire pits, and celebrate.

Hurly Burly 2017, Vivienne Rickman Poole
Hurly Burly 2017/ Vivienne Rickman Poole


The 11K run takes place at the same time as the swim, so at some point in the course you will see swimmers in the estuary beside you. The route will take you from Barmouth Beach, over the iconic Barmouth bridge then flanks the estuary all the way to Penmaenpool. Perfect for supporters who might not be water lovers but would like to get in on the action.


A 11K run followed by the 10K swim for those of you keen for a double challenge. You will be bused to Penmaenpool to join the Mawdacch Trail, run 11k to the swim start in Barmouth alongside the banks of the estuary and across the Barmouth Bridge, then swim back under it with the other swimmers on the incoming tide. This is a long run before a long swim: you can run in your running clothes, change and have a drink before setting off with the other swimmers (there will be a small time gap between the two events giving time for this to happen, and swimmers to depart together).

A long run before a long swim requires good nutrition! The founder of, Mike Alexander, offers advice in ‘Survive’ so you don’t let running cramp your style. Please read!

Vivienne RIckman Poole: Hurly Burly Swim Run
Vivienne Rickman Poole
Vivienne Rickman Poole
Vivienne Rickman Poole
Vivienne Rickman Poole


If you or your supporters would like to be part of the Hurly Burly team please get in touch, from run marshals to registration, tea makers to time keepers, these events would not happen without you!

By joining the #OSSteam the rewards include free meals, merchandise, and guaranteed early-bird access to event tickets for the following year. If you or your supporters would like to be involved, please read this Hurly Burly Volunteer Factsheet – we look forward to hearing from you.

Contact to join the event as a volunteer.


The Hurly Burly is a wetsuit event. All tickets are sold on the basis that participants will wear full length swimming wetsuits (or full length sleeveless wetsuit). Skin swimmers are welcome by application. If you swam in skins in 2018 you do not have to fully re-apply for skin swimming permission in 2019, but you must indicate when purchasing your ticket that you wish to swim skins again.

Permission for new skin swimmers is 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.

The skin swimmer application form is found here and must be completed by 25st July. We then consider your application within a week and communicate our decision back to all applicants. No reminders will be sent, put that date in your diary now.

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 Hurly Burly 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 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 Hurly Burly is a wetsuit event. All swimmers are to wear a full length, ankle-to-wrist or ankle-to-shoulder neoprene swimming wetsuit unless permission has been been sought and granted by the events team before 10th August (see skins, above). If you want to wear any variation of an ankle-to-wrist or ankle-to-shoulder neoprene swimming wetsuit (e.g. no arms, short legs) then please apply to the event manager using the skins form stating your current training in this suit.

Your wetsuit must cover you from your wrists or shoulder to below the knee, be made of neoprene and be designed for swimming / triathlon / swim-run (i.e. not scuba diving or surfing). Please do not attempt the swim in a surf wetsuit – the drag, buoyancy and comparative lack of flexibility will make your life unnecessarily difficult.


Most people swim front crawl, the wind and tide will make for some choppy conditions so we suggest that breaststroke is probably not a great idea on this swim. Swimmers will need to be able to maintain a swim speed of 35 minutes or faster (Measured as the time it takes you to swim a mile of relaxed continuous front crawl in a pool, without big push-offs).


We welcome and can generally accommodate swimmers with physical disabilities who would like to swim/run. 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. Those with physical disabilities who would like to swim or run should email the event manager prior to registration, and will be accommodated within the existing safety provision wherever possible (no separate arrangements can be made).


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.

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.


All tickets are sold on a strict “no refunds” basis, this is clearly outlined at all stages of the registration process. If you are no longer able to take part, your only option is to transfer to another person, during a transfer window that will run from the day tickets sell out until July 31st. If tickets do not sell out, no transfers will be offered.

Once you have found a buyer for your ticket (you can advertise your spare ticket on the official event Facebook page), organise payment with them directly and provide them with your ticket number and security code. The recipient of the ticket will need to purchase a ‘ticket transfer’ on the OSS event ticket page and pay the £20 admin fee. They then enter the original ticket number, security code and their new swimmer details.

Please note that should the event be cancelled due to extreme conditions which include (but are 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 worth considering, for example your travel insurance may cover you. (Check your small print!) Alternatively you can accept the small risk of not getting a refund in the case of event cancellation.


Due to the early start, registration packs will be sent by post. Please be aware that below timings are approximate and will be subject to change. Final event timings will be communicated to you before the event.

  • Run-Swim start time: 5am
  • Swim only start time: 6.30am
  • Run only start time: 7.15am



A huge thank you for the continued support of our sponsors:

Our primary sponsor is Alpkit, who produce outdoor clothing for people to go nice places and do good things.

Every swimmer, runner and run-swimmer receives a clifbar at registration.

We’re pleased to welcome Swimtrek and Robinsons Brewery to our community in 2019!


The  Hurly Burly could not take place without the positive response from the local community and council.

Particular thanks go to Merioneth Yacht Club, Snowdonia National Parks, the staff at the George III Hotel, Barry and Susan Brightmore, Richard and Pat Owen, and Gail Hall.

Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne
Graham Wynne


Swimmers are free to raise money for any charity (or none). In 2019 our charity partner is Level Water.

Image result for Level Water logo

Level Water is a young and fast growing charity who’s fortunes were changed overnight by involvement in the Dart10k. The charity provides one-to-one swimming lessons for disabled children across the country.  “We teach them the basics then help them to join mainstream lessons and competitive clubs

Ticket types and prices

  • 10km Swim. £110
  • 11km Run. £24
  • Swim-Run (do both!) £129
  • Fundraising Swim for Level Water. £55. A half price swim with a £200 minimum fundraising commitment.
Enter Bwrlwm Bermo/Hurly Burly