This year we have partnered with the Derwent Hill Centre in Portinscale, Keswick, where we will hold the event registrations, briefings and where both distance races will finish. There will be a post-race social with BBQ after each race. For the greatest convenience over your race weekend we are able to offer a limited number of accommodation packages at Derwent Hill: see below for more information.



All activity is at Derwent Hill (the race start and finish)


08:00 Registration, kit inspections, biosecurity check
09:00 Race brief 1st sitting
09:30 Race brief 2nd sitting
10:00 Bag drop opens
10:50 Teams fully assembled at start
11:00 Breca Buttermere Sprint start
13:30 First competitors expected at finish. BBQ available
15:30 Presentations and social 


All activity is at Derwent Hill unless otherwise specified


17:00 Registration, kit inspections, biosecurity check
18:00 Race brief 1st sitting
19:00 Race brief 2nd sitting


07:00 Bag drop opens. Board athletes’ coaches
07:30 Coaches depart for start
08:20 Teams fully assembled at start at Fang’s Brow, Mockerkin
08:30 Breca Buttermere start
13:50 First competitors expected at finish. BBQ available
17:30 Presentations and social


IMPORTANT: the event logistics are different from last year!


Car: The Lake District typically is between five and six hours from London by car, two hours from York and one and a half hours from Manchester. For Keswick, exit the M6 at Junction 40 (A66).

Public transport: Most journeys will require changing at Penrith for an onward bus to Keswick. Stagecoach operates an hourly service from Penrith. You can plan your journey using the National Rail website in conjunction with the useful Cumbria Council Journey Planning Tool

Plane: the nearest airports are Manchester and Glasgow. Carlisle airport also plans to re-open passenger flights from June.

parking and getting to derwent hill

Parking at Derwent Hill is reserved for residents only. There is no other parking close to the centre at Portinscale. Please leave cars at your accommodation or park in public car parks in Keswick. You will NOT be allowed to park at Derwent Hill if you are not staying there (see below).

From Keswick town centre, it is an easy walk of 1 mile to Derwent Hill along the Cumbria Way and River Greta, around the northern end of Derwent Water.

If you plan to be dropped off or collected at Derwent Hill, please read the advice on this in the “Race Start” and “Race Finish” sections.

The #77 bus runs hourly between the main road at Portinscale and Keswick (but note, it is a 1km walk to Derwent Hill from the bus stop). 


We suggest that you book accommodation in Keswick as this is where the event base will be. For both races, registration, briefings, finish line, bag drop, and post-race party will be at Derwent Hill, which is within easy walking distance of the town centre.

We have accommodation available at Derwent Hill, the event base.

Single, twin or dormitory options
Friday-Monday or Saturday-Monday packages, or Friday night only
B&B with additional meals available

Limited availability: Please book here

The Derwentwater Hotel is next to the Derwent Hill event base and is another good option for accommodation close by.

July is a busy time in the Lake District so accommodation will be in demand. Please book early to avoid disappointment. 

There are several websites to assist you in finding local accommodation in Keswick, including the following:
Go Lakes
Keswick Plus 


Registration and the race briefs will take place at Derwent Hill.

Sprint registration is from 08:00 on Saturday 11th August, followed by the race brief at 09:00 or 09:30.

Breca Buttermere registration is from 17:00 on Saturday 11th August, followed by the race brief at 18:00 or 19:00.

Please register with your partner and BRING YOUR MANDATORY KIT. If you do not bring these items with you, you will have to go and get them. You will not be allowed to register without them. This is critical especially for the sprint race as you will miss the race start.

What to Bring: Every competitor must present:

  • Photo identification
  • Whistle
  • Reusable cup or flask – read about our pioneering “cup free” race sustainability initiative. We will accept any type but it must be reasonably robust.
  • Wetsuit and Trainers – CLEAN AND DRY! Our continued use of the pristine lakes on our courses depends on our commitment to biosecurity. You must present your wetsuits AND trainers for the biosecurity check. If they are not CLEAN - this includes the soles of your shoes and means NO DIRT - and DRY, you will have to wash them before you can register.

You will be issued with your race vests and swim caps during registration.

You MUST attend your race brief, where we will give you vital information about the course and race logistics. The brief takes place after registration and will last about 1 hour.

Note that there are two briefing sittings for each race. We will send you instructions nearer the time about which brief to attend. The hall is not big enough to accommodate more people so please do not attempt to attend a different briefing.


Breca Buttermere Sprint

The Sprint distance race start is at Derwent Hill and will follow on from the race registration and briefing.

You may wear your kit to the registration and briefing to avoid having to get changed, but there will be basic changing facilities on site (a tent or in the toilets), if you wish to use them.

Breca Buttermere

We have organised complimentary competitor coaches to the race start. The coaches are mandatory as parking at the race start is limited.

NOTE: You will need to board the coaches changed and ready to race. There are no changing facilities at the race start. 

Coaches depart Derwent Hill at 07:30 sharp. Please be seated on the coaches five minutes before the departure time to avoid missing the transfer. If you miss the coach, there are no alternative arrangements in place and you will miss the race.

If you plan to be dropped off to meet the coach, please note that there is no parking at Derwent Hill and the lane is narrow and will have several coaches on it! PLEASE arrange a drop-off on the OTHER SIDE of the footbridge, on the service road accessed from the B5289, or, drop off and walk from Portinscale village.


You may leave a small drop bag at Derwent Hill before you board the coach (full distance) or start the race (sprint). Allow time for this before the coach boarding/start.

We recommend a change of clothes, shoes, money and a towel so that you can join us at the post-race social. There will be event staff in the area but bags will not be attended at all times and you leave them at your own risk.

RACE FINISH and social

Both races finish at Derwent Hill.

There will be a bar and BBQ available for a post-race social on both days.

POST-race bbq

If you plan to be collected at the finish, please note that there is no parking at Derwent Hill and vehicular access is restricted. Arrange a pick-up on the lane before turning into the Derwent Hill driveway (at the turning circle before the footbridge), or on the service road on the far side of the footbridge, accessed from the B5289.


We use cut off times to make sure that everyone completes the race safely and before dark. Cut offs are also critical for our safety plan for boats and the medical team. Consequently, cut off times will be strictly enforced. If you miss a cut off and continue to race you will be disqualified from this and all future Breca Swimrun events.

Cut off times are enforced at checkpoints and at swim entries. Checkpoint cut off times are listed below.


There are five checkpoints on the Breca Buttermere course and two on the sprint course. Locations are viewable on the website course maps. 

Breca Buttermere Sprint

Checkpoint 1: Great Wood Road | 6.7km from start | 13:15 cut off
Hydration (water, electrolyte) | bananas | sweets | GU gels

Checkpoint 2: Cumbria Way, Grange | 12.8km from start | 15:00 cut off
Hydration (water, electrolyte) | oranges | GU gels | flapjack/cake

Finish: Derwent Hill | 18.9km from start | 16:10 cut off
Hydration (water, electrolyte) | hot soup

Checkpoint 1: Crummock Water Pump House | 7.5km from start | 10:10 cut off
Hydration (water, electrolyte) | oranges | jelly babies

Checkpoint 2: Rannerdale Knots | 13.3km from start | 12:15 cut off
Hydration (water, electrolyte) | bananas | jelly babies | Kendal Mint Cake

Checkpoint 3: Buttermere Dubs | 20.6km from start | 13:05 cut off
Hydration (water, electrolyte) | oranges | flapjack/cake

Checkpoint 4: Hassness Kirk Close | 26.2km from start | 14:25 cut off
Hydration (water, electrolyte) | bananas | GU gels | new potatoes | hot tea

Checkpoint 5: Manesty Woods | 37.8km from start | 17:20 cut off
Hydration (water, electrolyte) | oranges | flapjack/cake | new potatoes

Finish: Derwent Hill | 45km from start | 19:40 cut off
Hydration (water, PURE electrolyte) | hot soup 


The course will be fully marked. Swim transitions and checkpoints will be staffed by volunteers. You do not need a map unless you wish to carry one.


Supporters are more than welcome to attend the event and we hope to see you especially at the finish lines and the post-race socials.

We have produced a Spectator Guide that you can download and print.

We ask that you observe the following advice:

  • Please do not accompany competitors to the race registration and briefing. The venue is not big enough.
  • Please do not attend the start of the full distance race. There is no spare parking and the roads are narrow.
  • Please use designated public car parks and DO NOT park on roadsides around the course, or on private property. Car parks are viewable on the spectator guide.

final checklist

Have you:

  • Booked your accommodation at Derwent Hill or elsewhere?
  • Read the instructions on what to bring to registration and the biosecurity requirements?
  • Read the instructions about parking and getting to and from Derwent Hill, including drop-offs / pick-ups?
  • Made a note of the critical timings for registration, briefings and start or coach boarding?
  • Passed on the spectator information to your supporters who plan to watch the race?