The Arctic Tern Test

Swimming through winter with a wee fun challenge that raises money for charity. Oh go on then!

As a swimming community we have been swimming year round for a few years and are now entering our 3rd winter. Many of our flock have swum more than 3 winters and many of us have swum less but what is different about this year is we are going to be raising money while we do it. Introducing the Salty Seabirds Arctic Tern Test……..

We know we are winter swimming wellbeing warriors. Most of our friends and families do too and we harp on about it so much and there is always some shingle in the toilet/shower/bath and soggy neoprene on a radiator. But now we need the world to know and what better way to do that than with a woven badge we can sew on something.

This Salty Seabird Challenge will  run from 1 November to 30 April and the aim is to complete a number of cold water swims in varying attire over varying distances in the sea over the winter months. It is a bit of fun to encourage swimmers to swim year round and raise money for a worthy cause – Level Water. There is a donation to enter and if you complete the challenge you will receive a Seabirds woven badge and certificate. All profits will be donated.

How it works –

  1. Enter the Challenge by choosing your Challenge level on the website
  2. Swim the swims relevant to your chosen level in your own time but make sure that you complete all the required swims and distances each month.
  3. Record your swims anyhow you like – we trust you not to cheat!
  4. Post lots of smiling swim pics of you completing your swims with the hashtags #saltyAF #levelwater #arcticterntest #saltyseabirds
  1. PENGIUN – Get in once a month wearing anything you like even paddling counts
  2. PUFFIN – Get in 4 times a month wearing anything you like, head to toe neoprene still counts
  3. NORTHERN GANNET – Get in 4 times a month wearing a cossie, gloves, boots and hat and swim from one groyne to another
  4. SNOW BUNTING -Get in 4 times a month wearing a cossie, gloves, boots and hat and swim a groyne and back
  5. ARCTIC TERN – Get in 4 times a month wearing ONLY a cossie and hat and swim a groyne

We can’t control the temperature of the sea so this may be significantly more challenging if we have a cold spell. If you are away you are welcome to record a river, lake or lido swim. It is just for fun! Please be safe and know your limits!!!!!

THE SMALL PRINT! You must be 18 or over to enter the Challenge. If this is your first winter of cold water swimming we suggest you choose Penguin or Puffin level. As said this is a bit of fun to raise money for charity and tp provide gentle encouragement and camaraderie to help you get through your winter swims. It is not an organised event, we have no liability insurance, you swim at your own discretion and are therefore responsible for checking conditions and being realistic about your ability.

Remember to post lots of smiley pics on social media with the following tags #saltyAF #levelwater #arcticterntest #saltyseabirds

Here are some tips for safe swimming;

  1. Always swim with company for fun, community and as someone to call for help if needed,  but remember you are responsible for your own safety in the sea.  Respect the safety of others and swim responsibly at all times. Other Swimmers are not there for your safety or to make decisions for you.
  2. Always check the conditions and be prepared to cancel your planned swim or abandon the sea mid swim. Take time to learn and understand sea and weather forecasts and really get to know your local beach and how it changes with the tide and weather fronts.
  3. Acclimatize gradually as the sea temperature drops. Go in regularly and just for very short periods and get to know your own abilities and limitations. Acclimatize each time you swim. Warm up with stretches before you go in the water, enter the water slowly, regulate your breathing.
  4. Stay close to the shore and wear very bright colours and a tow float.
  5. Have your clothes ready on the beach in the order you will put them on, lots of loose layers, wrap them in a hot water bottle and put them in a supermarket insulated bag
  6. After your swim, move around – A LOT – drink warm drinks, eat cake, and don’t hang around.

We will continue to support Level Water throughout 2021. Making swimming accessible to all is something we truly believe in as a community. Water is a real leveller and regardless of your body’s abilities with the right equipment and help everyone can enjoy being in the water. Level Water are the only UK swimming charity who provide specialist one-to-one swimming lessons for children with physical and sensory disabilities. Once each child has learnt to swim 15m front crawl and backstroke, they can be safe and independent in the water, and can join group swimming lessons or join their local competitive club. But it’s not just about swimming… Through developing independence in the water, and being able to join mainstream classes, each child develops confidence, self-esteem and resilience. Providing them with the tools to manage their wellbeing into adult life – what a great idea!

As well as the Arctic Tern Test, 8 Salty Seabirds and Seadogs will be swimming in the Sunrise Swoosh – a 6km swim in a sandy bottomed estuary in Devon. The swim is organised by The Outdoor Swimming Society and culminates in a “swoosh” as the ebbing tide is funnelled through a narrow section of river, speeding you along over the riverbed at up to four times your usual swimming speed. The event takes place in July so at least it will be warm but it’s a river and it’s a distance. We’re all more used to bobbing, dipping and chatting in the sea so swimming front crawl consistently for this length of time is going to be no easy feat. If you are unable to take part in the Arctic Tern Test please consider sponsoring these Salties as they embark on this challenge.

So come join us for our winter swims whilst helping a worthy cause! As ever we are very grateful for the community support. Lots of Salty Love and remember to stay safe!

Seabird’s Art Raffle – Roll Up, Roll Up!

Enter the draw for the Seabird’s Art Raffle. Only £2 a ticket. Weekly draw every Monday until the end of June. Local artist’s images and prints kindly donated. All money raised goes to Thousand 4 £1000 charity’s emergency Covid19 appeal. Good deeds in dark times. Sharing the Seabird love

Somewhat beached by the lock-down we have had to postpone  our water and wellbeing courses and other Seabirds events. While we are in discussion about how to plan for the future and seeing where lock-down leads us it has helped us both personally and as a business to make sure Seabirds continues to focus on community wellbeing. We have found we can continue to do this through mutual aid and community action –  supporting our friends at Thousand 4 £1000 with our Covid-19 fundraiser and now our ….

Seabirds’ Weekly Art Raffle!

Own original artwork, limited edition prints and one- off objects by Brighton’s wonderful photographers, illustrators and graphic novelists!

We will donate every penny of this and enter your name into a draw where you will stand a far-higher-than- the-national-lottery chance of having successfully bid for one of our featured artworks, which are all worth a lot more than two quid.

In future weeks we will have:​​​​​​​

Amazing Brighton Wave Photos and images from Toby; our very own Hannah Eaton , Seabird Jess Barnes and Cath’s generous neighbour, Bite your Granny

Please donate as much as you can – you can buy as many tickets as you like to improve your chances 🙂 If you want to enter each week there is a BUNDLE available for the entire raffle (valid each week – £20)

Don’t forget to get your tickets and good luck. Please spread the word and share the love! xxx

All you need is LOVE

In addition to running Seabirds, Cath volunteers for Sussex Refugees & Migrants Self Support Group providing guidance and assistance at the Jollof Cafe. Due to C19 lock down, many local migrants are now destitute with no access to work/benefits so the Seabird solution was a fundraiser!

The best event you will attend. A party above the clouds. Music with a bear.-3 (1)

I am part of the charity T4K, or Thousand for £1000. What is fabulous about T4K, Brighton Migrant Solidarity and the Jollof Cafe (which all kind of merge together tbh – but T4K is the official charity part) is that it is all underwritten and driven by LOVE. Which is where it matches so well with Seabirds,  there is so much love and mutual support in our Salty Seabird community; and beyond to our wider Outdoor Swimming community. So we have chosen to respond to the current ‘situation’ by trying to keep focus on the positives. Like the beautiful mutual aid and support spreading throughout the nation and particularly flourishing in our own Brighton and Hove. We wanted to be a part of that. So under lock-down sales of our merchandise will go to the emergency fund for T4K


They will make weekly cash payments to around 50 asylum seekers and other migrants with no source of income, to enable them to buy food, fuel and phone credit during the Covid 19 emergency. They have already made sure 4 households of asylum seekers have internet access to be able to contact the outside world and keep in touch with their family while in isolation.

“In a pandemic, we can clearly see that the wellbeing of each of us is important for the health of all of us.

Please help us to make Brighton & Hove a community where nobody is left out in the cold”

Spread the love Seabirds, buy a mug or a tee or donate the cash direct to the fund. I think we can all agree it is LOVE that makes the world go round, more apparent than ever right now and it is LOVE that will get us through this.


Work, kids and Netflix and Just Dance taking up most of my time (mainly the Netflix if I am honest) –  if I manage one improving podcast or vlog a day I am happy. A few brilliant ones that relate to this is Brene Brown on the finding of meaning in this process that we are all going through and my wonderful comrade and friend Jacob’s TED talk which explains why T4K was set up and why it is ALWAYS more fulfilling (and more FUN!) to CHOOSE LOVE.

On the subject of LOVE – BIG BIG LOVE to all our Salties who are key workers, we all send you love and massive thanks as you continue to make our world go round xxx

Author: Seabird Cath