We ask you to do all you can to minimise your impact on the environment.
Biosecurity (in relation to wild swimming) is how we protect the natural environment from the infiltration of invasive species. Invasive species are plants or animals that don’t naturally exist in a certain location.
New Zealand Pigmyweed is the most relevant example to the Puddle Buckley and wild swimming throughout the UK.
New Zealand Pigmyweed is a non-native invasive species (NNIS). It was imported into the UK as a water oxygenator for aquariums and has found its way into our lakes. Here it thrives and out-competes native species like Water Plantain which are on the Biodiversity Action Plan red list of species under threat. It also covers up spawning gravels for rare fish such as the Vendace. This is greatly reducing the biodiversity of our lakes and could lead to certain species becoming extinct.
Pigmyweed can survive long periods in damp conditions and a piece only 2mm long poses a threat.
New Zealand Pigmyweed is just one example of NNIS which threaten Snowdonia’s pristine lakes.
The lakes on the Puddle Buckley as far as we know are currently free of invasive species and obviously we need to keep it this way.
To achieve this, before and after every round and training swim you must:
Check your equipment and clothing for living organisms. Pay particular attention to damp or hard to inspect areas.
Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothes thoroughly. If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them or on a hard surface to die out.
Dry all equipment and clothing. Some species can live for many days in damp conditions.
This includes all equipment but especially:
- Wetsuits: check and wash inside and out, pay particular attention to zips and baffles, any Velcro, and around the cuffs and ankles.
- Swimming hats, boots and gloves
- Float bags and tow cords
- Any equipment used on or near the lakes by support crew such as canoes, paddle boards, paddles, Personal Flotation Devices, clothing and footwear.
Snowdonia National Park takes biosecurity very seriously. Participants for water based activities on the lake have a responsibility to ensure that any equipment such as: paddleboards, wind surfers, boats including canoes and kayaks, protective clothing such as waders, floatation devices, wellingtons, water boots, wet/dry suits and fishing gear are cleaned thoroughly before you arrive at the site and then after use. Please refer to the following links for some useful advice on biosecurity http://www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry/
The future of wild swimming depends on us doing all we can to implement Biosecurity.
When you are out enjoying Snowdonia’s countryside, remember to do so in a responsible manner in order to protect wildlife and the local landowners’ livelihood…
- Share the space, drop your pace – respect other trail users especially those who are less able
- Help us to reduce mountain erosion by keeping to the path
- Take your litter home, including food waste
- Leave gates as you find them, or follow any directions
- Take care not to harm plants and wildlife
- Be considerate of other walkers
- Wheel, Heel, Hoof – bikes and motor vehicles should give way to walkers and everyone should pass horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles wide and slow, making their presence known
- Stay off walls and fences
- Follow defined routes, way-markers or maps
- Leave no trace of your visit
- Keep dogs under effective control and take the safest route around farm animals, especially if they are with young animals
- Stay safe – be seen, be heard, be aware
- Be mindful of man-made hazards and machinery – obey warning signs at all times
The rivers and lakes of Wales are an amazing place to swim; offering beautiful scenery, crystal clean water and a sense of peace and tranquillity. Help keep them special and preserve them for future generations. Make sure that you:
Respect other people
• Don’t trespass. There are areas with designated public access, including rights of way, access land and some waters with navigation rights. However, outside of these areas, you should not assume that you have access onto any land or water without the owner’s permission.
• Be aware that other people may be using the lake or river you’re in, such as gorge walkers, canoeists or anglers. Make sure they are aware of your presence but try not to disturb them or get in their way.
• Be discreet if you need to change your clothes in public places.
Protect the natural environment
• Many fish species lay their eggs in gravel in the shallow parts of the river between autumn and spring; they may be very vulnerable at this time and it is an offence to harm them. If possible, try and avoid contact with gravel on the riverbed, at any time of year.
• Avoid damaging plants in and around the water. Stick to established paths or bare rock. If available, use guidebooks, local information or signs to find the best places to get in and out of the water.
• Take care not to alarm birds, livestock or other animals as they may be very sensitive to disturbance; if you see animals looking agitated by your presence move away quietly.
• Be aware that ground-nesting and hole-nesting birds may be breeding on islands, banks and shingle in the spring and summer; be particularly careful not to disturb them at this time.
• Introducing invasive species of plants and animals to watercourses may have very serious effects on the habitats found there. You can prevent this by checking, cleaning and drying your swimwear and equipment thoroughly before going to a new place.
Enjoy the outdoors and stay safe
- You are responsible for your own safety.
- Know your limits, swim with others if possible or let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Have a way of raising an alarm if you need help.
- Check the weather forecast before you set off. Remember that water conditions may change while you are out.
- Check the water before you get in: make sure
that there aren’t any hidden objects in the water.
- Make sure that it is deep enough for you not to hit the bottom.
- Remember that the way you dive in will affect how deep you go.
- Be aware of fast flowing water and strong currents, particularly around waterfalls and rapids.
- Take care around the water’s edge as rocks, grass and mud can be slippery and unstable. Always make sure you know how to get in and out of the water safely.
- Be aware that people may be using boats or other water vessels near you: stay visible – consider wearing a brightly coloured hat. Make it easy for them to avoid you.
- Take note of warning signs on or around water, particularly around man-made features such as sluices and weirs.
- Have your route planned if you’re going to swim long distance: -swimming in an indoor swimming pool is very different from swimming outside – you may not be able to swim the same distance. Make sure you have identified places to get out of the water if you need to.
- The shock of sudden immersion into cold water can sometimes cause hyperventilating and even lead to drowning: enter cold water slowly and make sure that you have planned a safe way to get out.
- Hypothermia can set in after prolonged periods in cold water: if you feel your arms getting weak, your fingers going numb or muscle cramping then get out of the water as soon as possible.
- Bacteria, viruses and toxic algae may be present
in some water. Generally, if the water looks or smells bad, don’t enter.
However, if you are entering suspect water:
- Cover all cuts and abrasions with waterproof plasters.
- Wear footwear to avoid cutting your feet.
- Avoid swallowing water.
- If you see sewage entering a watercourse call Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s hotline on 0800 085 3968, or you can report pollution or other wildlife crime by calling 0800 80 70 60.
- Wash as soon possible after getting out and particularly before eating any food. –
- Contact your doctor if you start experiencing any symptoms and tell them where you have been.
- The Royal Life Saving Society has more information about water safety and training on its website – www.rlss.org.uk
Safety comes first, however we encourage you to find ways to reduce your impact on the environment without affecting anyone’s safety.
With that in mind here are some suggestions for an eco-friendly Puddle Buckley:
- Cycling to and from your recces and rounds
- Cycling to your round will certainly add to the adventure and challenge and will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your round!
- National cycle network route 5 runs along the north coast of Wales and is a lovely route.
- The pre-round recce (to confirm the route prior to publishing) was completed after cycling to the start from Torridon.
- Using public transport. Bangor is easily accessed by train and from there, Llanberis can be easily accessed by bike or Bus 85
- Using the most eco-friendly vehicle available
- If you’re hiring a vehicle or have a choice try to find the vehicle(s) with the highest miles per gallon and lowest pollutant output. https://calculator.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx?tab=4
- Car sharing
- Go on make a road trip out of it! The more seats you fill in your car, the better for the planet. liftshare.com/uk
Considering buying new gear or replacing old gear for this challenge? How about:
- Mending the kit you’ve got
- Borrowing or hiring gear
- Making your own gear
- Looking for second hand gear
- Trying to find the most eco-friendly gear you can
It seems to me that most outdoor equipment producers are making little effort to reduce the impact they and their kit are having on the environment. This won’t change untill we make them aware that we are not buying their products because of their environmental impact. Where we choose to spend our money has a powerful impact!
We encourage you to source low impact food for this challenge. Try to buy local products with plastic-free packaging, consider choosing vegan options and making your own trail treats and energy products.
We also encourage you to pick up litter on your recces and round. Snowdonia is a fairly pristine environment so make sure you take all your litter home with you and go that bit further by picking up as much as you can when out and about. https://www.goplogging.org/