Like many seaside towns, Sidmouth in Devon has its annual Christmas swim in the sea on Boxing Day, December 26th. In recent years numbers have grown from about 50 brave souls to several hundred yesterday, braving sea temperatures of around 11 degrees. I went armed with my camera, hoping to catch the crazy people dashing in and back out shivering, but the area was crowded and I couldn’t actually see anyone close up.
I did see some of the swimmers in the crowds beforehand, lots in fancy dress, but I don’t think a bunny suit or a grass skirt helped keep any of them warm!
Doubts had been cast about the event going ahead this year, gale force winds were forecast and there were concenrs about safety. Luckily, the day was mild and sunny and the Sidmouth lifeboat was launched just in case and at 11am in they went.
When it was nearly over, I managed to squeeze through close enough to prove that there really were people in the water!
Now of course those of you in the southern hemisphere think nothing of swimming in the sea at Christmas, but here even in August the chill can take your breath away. So who has had a December dip and if you have would you do it again? I have, but on Borneo where the water was like a lovely warm bath, and I would have to be in the tropics to do it again!
Watch out for the red dragon in Oscar Pearson’s video of the action here.