Folkestone, Kent

Residential Wild Swimming & Songwriting Retreat

3rd - 6th May 2024 // Eskdale, Cumbria

About the Retreat

Surrounded by mountains and rolling rivers, lakes and ancient forests the retreat will be the perfect opportunity for you to be with other songwriters in a nurturing environment and with our amazing tutors – Findlay Napier and Dave Hook aka Solareye – we look forward to guiding your creative practice and introducing you to some of the wonders of the wild west and also of course having a great time in this magnificent house.

Nestled deep in the Western Lakes you will find nature at it’s most beautifully raw and powerful and no better immerse your creative mind and body

Musicians are going through some of the toughest times with post lockdown and the ongoing impact on venues closing and trying to make a living  takes its toll on the mind, body and soul so the retreat it geared up to provide you with a time to retreat, restore, refocus and let nature work it’s magic and let the inspiration flow into your fledgling songs.

Tickets & Info

If you have any other queries please contact us and Lorraine will be in touch with more info from participants to how to make your stay and experience as best as we can.

Full Board – £500 – Cost for residential full board with tuition and social. FULLY BOOKED

Live-Out – £350 – No accommodation but includes all meals, tuition and socials.  SPACE AVAILABLE. Enquire now

Accommodation (Hotels/Guest houses or camping option) is available locally.

Meet the Tutors

Findlay Napier

Findlay Napier is Scottish singer-songwriter. He’s also a veteran songwriting tutor, having founded the Glasgow songwriting festival and taught at all the Folkestone events.

If you want to learn to write songs which aren’t about “lurv” and “inner feelings” ; if you want to write songs which have a sense of place or which tell a story, then Findlay is your man.

His breakthrough solo album VIP is packed full of biographical songs about quiet heroes, whose praises have hitherto remained unsung: Heddy Lemarr, George C Parker and a character called Eddie Banjo.

Dave Hook aka Solareye

Dave Hook is a rapper, poet, songwriter and hip-hop academic. Winner of Best Hip-Hop at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2018, he has toured extensively throughout the UK and around the globe with alternative hip-hop group Stanley Odd, and as solo artist, Solareye.

His debut solo album – All These People Are Me – was described by author Ian Rankin as “a stunning album, the great contemporary Scottish novel in rap form”. Stanley Odd’s most recent album, ‘STAY ODD’ was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year 2021.

Extra Activities & Accommodation

There will be the opportunity for you to swim and dip in some of the most breath-taking waters in the UK

This activity is not compulsory so dont let this put you off – there’ll be other things to do and if you are participating you do so at their own risk.  I will give you some suggestions and advice if you are keen to get in.

We will be doing some easy hiking too so some suitable footwear is recommended and more info on kit will be sent out to participants.

We will be staying at the fabulous 12 bedroomed Stanley Ghill House at Beckfoot (There is a steam train service direct from Ravenglass ) near the village of Boot in Eskdale and the retreat is fully inclusive of tuition and meals.

Please fill in your dietary needs form and send this as soon as possible.

No alcohol will be provided so please bring your own.

Transport isn’t provided to get you to Stanley Ghill House or field trips but there will be ample cars for us to car share once we are there.

Have a look at Stanley Ghyll House’s website for more information on the layout and directions coming in from North and South.

Further information and FAQs

Let us know if you have any Access issues such as mobility, disability or neurodivergent needs and we will endeavour to make the environment and experience as comfortable as possible for you.

Also please do let us know if you have any food or other kinds of allergies and if you have any special dietary requirements ( V, Vg, Carn ).


  • Your instrument of choice
  • Something to write on and with
  • An open mind and willingness to collaborate

Lorraine spends half her life in these parts of the world and knows some cracking hidden gems so you won’t be short of inspiration!

The Swimming

At this time of year the lakes haven’t had much sun so it’s generally around the 9 degree mark at this time so if you are already adapted to cold water and you prefer to swim skins ( not wetsuit) feel free.

  • It is worth getting some neoprine gloves and socks ( 3 – 5mm) and you can get these online.
  • Or some sea shoes.
  • A woolly hat
  • Flask
  • Thermals for a quick change.
  • Woolly socks.


Please note that if you are going to go  in for a dip you do so at your own discretion and risk.

The Hiking Bit.

The weather can be unpredictable so the usual walking gear – we won’t be hanging off Scafell Pike ( well not on this trip) so good walking footwear, waterproof trousers, waterproof jacket.

Please note if the weather is rubbish we have alternative plans.

The Food Bit.

All meals are included so please let Lorraine know if you have any special dietary requirements and especially if you have any allergies.

Alcohol is not provided or on sale at the house so please bring your own if you wish, but there are a few nearby pubs and we will be going to one in the evening for a meal.

Enquire Now

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