Virgin Trains announces ‘Beard Cap’ to promote Great North Swim

Virgin Trains, official train partner to the Great North Swim, has launched an innovative swim cap for bearded men – the Beard Cap - which will be trialled with customers competing at the Great North Swim, Lake Windermere, June 12 – 14, 2015. Responding to debates on swimming forums about big beards causing drag, Virgin Trains commissioned its own research which revealed that over one in ten men (12 per cent) connected their beard to slower swim times, and nearly a quarter of men feel their beards hinder their sports performance. For swimmers, spectators and supporters planning a weekend away to the Lakes during the Great North Swim, there are exclusive discounts of up to 50%  across Virgin Trains First and Standard Advance Fares. To find out more information and buy tickets to travel to The Great North Swim visit http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/nova/

Virgin Trains, official train partner to the Great North Swim, has launched an innovative swim cap for bearded men – the Beard Cap – which will be trialled with customers competing at the Great North Swim, Lake Windermere, June 12 – 14, 2015.


A beard cap. Am I hearing you right? A swimming cap that covers your beard. I’ve heard about some crazy inventions in my time including a cap with built in goggles that David Wilkie introduced a few years back which looked like a gimp mask. But surely a cap for your beard can’t really be a thing.

Well yes it is, as it happens – though I suspect it’s really one giant publicity stunt so we write about The Great North Swim (it’s working guys) than something you would seriously wear down your local pool. It has been launched by Virgin Trains who are the ‘official Train partner’ for the Great North Swim, taking place in Lake Windermere (June 12-14, 2015)

The Lycra prototype, which will trialled with customers competing at the Great North Swim extends down to wrap under the chin and packs the beard against the face to, supposedly, decrease drag whilst swimming. It’s reusable, adjustable and perfect for keeping bushy beards under control, so the press release states.

Clearly it’s ridiculous and it’s unlikely to make you swim any faster, despite some of the interesting stats below. But if it gets more people swimming for fun then I’m all in favour. One benefit is that it might help to keep your face a bit warmer in the cold water – so could actually benefit non-bearded women and men too!!

Adrian Varma, Senior Partnerships and Marketing Manager at Virgin Trains, said: “At Virgin Trains we’re passionate about giving our customers the most awesome experience possible, and this extends to their sporting endeavours as they are travelling to the Great North Swim with us. In addition to the 50 per cent discounted tickets to the event for spectators and competitors, we’re delighted to be offering customers this innovative cap to help them do their best.”

Alex Jackson, event director at Great North Swim added: “As a newly bearded man, who is also a keen swimmer, I can empathise!  We’re sure our swimmers will appreciate the efforts Virgin Trains has gone to and perhaps the Beard Cap will solve the problem of ‘facial hair-drag’ and encourage more guys to suit up and take the plunge in 2015!”

Virgin Trains, official train partner to the Great North Swim, has launched an innovative swim cap for bearded men – the Beard Cap - which will be trialled with customers competing at the Great North Swim, Lake Windermere, June 12 – 14, 2015. Responding to debates on swimming forums about big beards causing drag, Virgin Trains commissioned its own research which revealed that over one in ten men (12 per cent) connected their beard to slower swim times, and nearly a quarter of men feel their beards hinder their sports performance. For swimmers, spectators and supporters planning a weekend away to the Lakes during the Great North Swim, there are exclusive discounts of up to 50%  across Virgin Trains First and Standard Advance Fares. To find out more information and buy tickets to travel to The Great North Swim visit http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/nova/

Do you think you would wear this beard cap?

Responding to debates on swimming forums about big beards causing drag, Virgin Trains commissioned its own research which revealed:

  • Over one in ten men (12 per cent) connected their beard to slower swim times, and nearly a quarter of men feel their beards hinder their sports performance.
  • This could be because beards are an irritant for some sporting men (11 per cent), a source of discomfort for others (32 per cent) and a distraction for even more (42 per cent).
  • Nearly half (46 per cent) of British men surveyed are now shunning the clean shaved look for something more hairy, and 22 per cent are opting for a big or thick beard. This is despite many (58 per cent) becoming annoyed with their furry faces.
  • However, it’s not all bad news because over a third of women prefer men with beards (37 per cent) with many women aged 25-34 preferring men with a hairy face (55 per cent)
  • Even though some men (29 per cent) find their beards get in the way of kissing.

For swimmers, spectators and supporters planning a weekend away to the Lakes during the Great NorthSwim, there are exclusive discounts of up to 50%  across Virgin Trains First and Standard Advance Fares. To find out more information and buy tickets to travel to The Great North Swim visit http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/nova/

Top 10 cities with the most bearded men in the UK:

City % of men currently with beards
Birmingham 51
London 50
Norwich 49
Leeds 47
Nottingham 46
Manchester 45
Brighton 43
Liverpool 41
Bristol 41
Edinburgh 40