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SwimTrek’s Top Festive Swims

By Olivia Weatherill , 21 December, 2018

If you’re an outdoor swimmer longing to get back in the waters after stuffing yourself silly this Christmas, we’ve picked out some of the biggest and maddest Christmas swims taking place across the UK this festive period. The only questions remaining are which ones to do and what fancy dress will you wear?

Brighton Sea Swim, Christmas Day

SwimTrek’s local sea swim is one that is close to our hearts and one that a few of the head office staff will be braving too! The Christmas Day swim is the main event, with dippers also braving the waters on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. The annual swim was started in 1860 by the Brighton Swimming club, however the local council has put it’s foot down in recent years and called for the ban of the event in 2015. Despite the warnings, hardy swimmers still brace the icy waters every year donning fancy dress and generally very little clothing!

Cromer Boxing Day Dip

Organised by the North Norfolk Beach Runners, the day’s activities include a morning fun run before the main event, the Boxing Day Dip. As one of the larger festive swim events in the East of England, swimmers face the chills of the North Sea (which dropped to 5°C in 2017!), but with hundreds of other mad souls around you also taking to the water, the adrenaline will certainly carry you through the waves!

Bude Christmas Swim, Christmas Day

This ‘no wetsuits’ race has been running since 1984 and is an annual fundraiser for Bude Surf Lifesaving Club. The charge into the water by the hundreds of participants is a sight to see on this otherwise quiet Cornwall beach. Over 800 people took part in 2017, will this be the Christmas dip that takes your fancy?

Tenby Boxing Day Swim

This small Welsh harbour town has hosted this Boxing Day swim since 1970 and is the brainchild of Tenby Sea Swimming Association. A great charity event, swimmers can choose to raise money for their own charities or for those nominated by the Tenby Sea Swimming Association, which has raised nearly £280,000 since it was founded. 2018 marks the swim’s 48th year and it is being celebrated with a space travel theme. Expect some weird and wonderful sights in southwest Wales this Boxing Day!

Serpentine Christmas Day Swim

A Serpentine Swimming Club members only event, (though spectators are very welcome), this special, annual swim has run since 1864 and is a straight race to see who can swim 100m first. Head up breaststroke is your friend here and has been the stroke of choice for winners in the past! Swimmers compete for the Peter Pan trophy as JM Barrie, playwright of the eponymous children’s novel, became associated with the club in the early 1900’s and left a lasting impression on his local swimming club.

The Loony Dook Swim, New Year’s Day

With a name derived from the combination of a loony, short for lunatic, and dook, a Scottish term for a dip or bathe, this swim certainly attracts the most eccentric of open water swimmers. The swim, now part of the Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival, takes place in South Queensferry, just north of Edinburgh. The swimmers brave the chilly Firth of Forth as part of their dip, which leads into the North Sea. Take your selfie in front of the Forth Bridge before jumping out for a warm drink and some cake.

Redcar Boxing Day Dip

The small town of Redcar in the northeast of England makes a big splash come Boxing Day. The event attracts a few hundred swimmers each year, with thousands more looking on. Previous participants included the town’s mayor in his full badge and chains of office! The swim raises money for local water-based charities including the RNLI and Coast Watch as well as the Cleveland Mountain Rescue.

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