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 take place at Crooklets Beach from 11am on Christmas Day. All the money raised from the event goes towards the training and education of Bude Surf Life Saving Club members. The club aims to keep the visitors to Bude’s beaches safe. There are usually around 600 sponsored swimmers taking part, most dress in shorts and Christmas hats (no wetsuits are allowed for the swim). The event also attracts several hundred spectators. Sponsorship forms are available from the website and children taking part should be over 8 years old and accompanied by an adult.
More info: www.budeslsc.co.uk 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 is free to take part in. Dippers are recommended to bring a towel and a flask of tea!
More info: www.exmouthchristmasdayswim.co.uk and www.facebook.com/christmasswim
White Christmas Dip
The White Christmas Dip at Boscombe Pier in Dorset takes place annually in aid of Macmillan. This year they hope to have around 500 swimmers in fancy dress for the event and spectators are encouraged to come and watch. The White Christmas Dip will begin at 9.45am and anyone can enter as long as they raise the minimum of £5 in sponsorship (£10 on the day).
More info: www.whitechristmasdip.co.uk
Seaburn Boxing Day Dip
This dip is organised by Sunderland Lions Club and has been running since the 1970s. There is a minimum age of 12 and entrants must raise money for charity through sponsorship. Participants can choose which charity they would like their money to go to. The event usually attracts around 100 participants who jump into the North Sea in fancy dress. The dip also attracts plenty of spectators.
More info: sunderlandlionsuk.org and www.facebook.com/SunderlandLionsClub
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.
More info: facebook.com/seahamboxingdaydip and www.east-durham.roundtable.co.uk
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
Redcar Boxing Day Dip
This will be the 45th Redcar Boxing Day Dip and hundreds of people are expected to take part. The event is organised by the Rotary Club of Redcar. It costs £10 to take part and this year participants can raise money for their chosen charity. Registration will take place at The Livery on Redcar High Street from 10.15am. There will then be a procession, led by a piper, at 11am.
More info: www.rotary-ribi.org
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 pirates and princesses, 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 St John Cmyru, the Harriet Davis Trust and Splash Out 2015.
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. Those crazy enough to take part should aim to be at the harbour for 10.45am to sign in. There will be a prize for the best fancy dress.
More info: www.bridportroundtable.co.uk and www.facebook.com/BridportRoundTable
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 by 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 charity. 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.facebook.com/AberdeenLionsNippyDipper
Prestwick Dip wi’a Nip
Take a dip this Boxing Day in the chilly waters at Prestwick Beach and help raise funds for children and young people with cancer, and their families. The Prestwick Dip is one of the best known festive events in Ayrshire and people come from all over the region to take part. Follow in the footsteps of the thousands of brave dippers who have been taking part since 2006 and help make 2014 a record year. After the dip, participants will get some hot soup, a tod of whisky (18 and above only), and a goody bag to take home.
More info: www.clicsargent.org.uk/event/prestwick