Christmas Swimming

For those of you who didn’t quite feel cold enough when getting out of bed this morning, I have a proposition. Winter swimming.

Many people associate this time of year with cozy fires, roast dinners and presents. Try telling that to the participants of the Tenby Boxing Day Swim and others around the country.

The Tenby swim in particular has spiralled out of control (in a good way), and has now become one of the region’s major charity earners. The Pembrokeshire coastline comes alive as hundreds of fancy-dressed revellers (this year is a TV theme, so gives you some creative licence).

Last year, the coldest Christmas on record saw a snowy scene on the town’s North Beach as The Big Red Swim took to the water, and as the swimmers charged for the sea, they were encouraged by official confirmation from coastguards that it was warmer in than out. With the air temperature standing at 3 degrees centigrade, the water temperature was officially recorded at a comforting 8.9 degrees centigrade.

What is actually comforting is the fact there is a huge bonfire waiting at the end for those who have braved the elements and completed the swim, no doubt followed by a left-over turkey sandwich when they get home.

Tenby is not the only place for a festive swim, the people of Norfolk seem the most enthusiastic as there are no fewer than five locations over the Christmas period. For a swim on the 26th check out Cromer beach and Sea Palling, whilst Hunstaton is the location of choice for Christmas Day itself.

So other than feeling refreshed, getting away from the family arguments and earning money for charity, are there any reasons why you should go for a dip this winter?

According to Pete Roberts who is a bonafied winter swimmer there are many. Although let me add that he is an experienced swimmer, so novices may need to take extra precaution when exposing themselves to the elements. Roberts claims: “It’s a proven fact that winter swimmers have a higher resistance to infection, a significantly lower incidence of cancer and heart disease, together with an extended life expectancy.”

Whilst Lieping Ren is a Chinese scientist who has spent eight years researching the use of winter swimming to treat HIV/AIDS patients.

See here for more information on the health benefits of cold-water swimming, and here for how to enter Europe’s largest boxing day swim at Seaburn beach in Sunderland. Be one of the lucky 1,000!!!!!