All over the UK brave souls will be donning their trunks, swimming costumes and fancy dress outfits as they prepare to take a quick dip in their local waters. Yes, it may be cold and it may be slightly crazy but that doesn’t stop the hardcore having a swim on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Contrary Life brings you a round-up of the organised swims taking place this year, beginning with one of the most well-known events.
Christmas Day Race for the Peter Pan Cup
This is one of the most well-known Christmas Day swims and is a race for Serpentine Swimming Club members only. The race has an interesting history and attracts plenty of spectators. It takes place in the morning at The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park. The Serpentine Swimming Club held its first Christmas Day Race in 1864. In 1903 Sir James Barrie donated the first Peter Pan Cup, the same year that his play Peter Pan first appeared in London theatres.
More info: serpentineswimmingclub.com
Bude Christmas Day Swim
Bude’s swim will start at 11am on Christmas Day, with all money raised going towards the training and education of Bude Surf Life Saving Club members. The club aims to keep the visitors to Bude’s beaches safe. The club hope to have 600 sponsored swimmers taking part and there will be a prize for the best Christmas hat. Children taking part should be over 8 years old and accompanied by an adult. No wetsuits are allowed for the swim (except for the under 12s).
More info: www.budeslsc.co.uk/event and www.facebook.com/budeslsc
Exmouth Christmas Day Swim
The Christmas Day Swim in Exmouth is something of an unofficial tradition which sees hundreds of festively dressed people take to the water. This year’s event will take place on the beach near the clock tower at 11am. The swim has become quite renowned in the area and has even featured on this year’s advertising campaign by Sainsburys.
More info: www.exmouthchristmasdayswim.co.uk
White Christmas Dip
The White Christmas Dip at Boscombe Pier in Dorset costs £5 to enter with the money going to Macmillan Caring Locally. They hope to have around 200 swimmers in fancy dress for the event and spectators are encouraged to come and watch. The White Christmas Dip will begin at 10.30am sharp and registration is from 10am.
More info: www.whitechristmasdip.co.uk
Pembrey Walrus dip
This dip takes place on Boxing Day at 11am. It is free to take part but the event is aiming to raise lots of money for charity. There is no need to register, just turn up by 10.30am at the water’s edge. There are no age restrictions so the whole family can take part. Hot drinks and soup will be available to buy on the day, which may be much-needed!
More info: www.facebook.com/TheWalrusDip
Seaburn boxing day dip
Organised by Sunderland Lions Club, this is one of the largest of the dips taking place this year. There is a minimum age of 12 and entrants must raise money for charity through sponsorship. Around 100 participants are expected to jump into the North Sea and fancy dress is the norm for this event. The dip attracts many more spectators and has been running since the 1970s.
More info: sunderlandlionsuk.org
Seaham Boxing Day Dip
The Seaham dip, hosted by East Durham Round Table, takes place at Seaham Marina. Registration begins at 10.30am on the day and the dip begins around 11am. It costs £5 to take part and dippers are able to pick up sponsorship forms in advance to raise money for their chosen charities (or they can just dip if they like). Over the years dippers have turned up in all kinds of fancy dress costumes such as Santa, penguins, and Minnie Mouse. This year they hope to have the biggest turn out yet and raise as much as possible for charity. East Durham Round Table is a men’s club involved in a lot of charity fundraising events in the area.
More info: facebook.com/seahamboxingdaydip
Lunderston Bay Boxing Day Dip
The Lunderston Boxing Day Dip will be helping to raise awareness and funds to support children and young people with cancer. Registration for this event is free, but you will need to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship for CLIC Sargent. Other similar events raising money for CLIC Sargent can be found on their website.
More info: www.clicsargent.org.uk/event/lunderston-bay-boxing-day-dip-2013
Redcar Boxing Day Dip
Redcar’s Boxing Day Dip will have around 600 participants this year, making it one of their biggest events yet. The dip is aiming to raise around £20,000 for various charities. There is a new-look Esplanade at Redcar which will make it easier for spectators to view the event. The dip is organised by Redcar Rotary and will begin at around 11am. Registration will take place at the Livery on Redcar High Street from 10.15am. This will be the 44th dip to take place to Redcar.
More info: www.tjfa.co.uk/Articles/Boxing-Day-Dip
Tenby Boxing Day Swim
This is the oldest of the Boxing Day dips, having first started in 1970. Again the focus here is to raise money for charity whilst wearing fancy dress. This year’s theme is pantomime, so there should be lots of interesting costumes. The event usually attracts around 600 participants and plenty more spectators. The swim begins at 11.30am and entrants will be raising money for Skanda Vale Hospice; the Rudy Trust; the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) charity and the District Brownies Centenary Appeal.
More info: www.tenbyboxingdayswim.co.uk
Bridport Boxing Day Swim
Bridport’s swim, also known as the West Bay Wallow, takes place at 12 noon at the West Bay Harbour Slipway. Organised by the Bridport Round Table, the event is a chance for people to raise money for their chosen charity whilst dressing like a loon. Sponsorship forms are available from the round table’s website and those crazy enough to take part should aim to be at the harbour for 10.30am.
More info: www.bridportroundtable.co.uk
Aberdeen Nippy Dipper
Organised by Aberdeen Lions Club, hardy souls need to brave the elements for this sponsored dip in the chilly North Sea. This year’s event will take place opposite the Beach Leisure Centre. The Lord Provost, accompanied by a piper, will lead the participants to the icy waters at around 10.30am. Spectators are encouraged to come along and cheer on the hardy souls. The Nippy Dipper is a fantastic way to blow away the Christmas cobwebs, have some fun and raise money for local good causes. It’s a dip, not a swim and participants, who must be aged 16 or over, stay within their depth and are in the water for no more than two minutes.
More info: www.aberdeen-lions.org