I have to admit that cold water swimming isn't really my thing, I prefer to stay warm and preferably dry! I do however admire the tenacity and determination of cold water swimmers. They seem to have increased in number this year, with many more people swimming regularly throughout the winter months in the bays and coves surrounding us here on the Rame Peninsula in Cornwall.
Several of my friends are taking part in the Polar Bear Challenge this year. This involves swimming a certain distance each month throughout the winter until April, without a wetsuit. As I’ve watched them, I’ve become familiar with the need for various strategies to warm up afterwards and the post swim euphoria or afterglow which comes from this activity. I'm imagining that it's probably the same as coming in from a bracing walk, just magnified by the temperature differences! My friends tell me that the experience of swimming in the cold sea brings a variety of benefits to both their physical and mental well-being.
This recent interest does allow me some time to sit next to the sea and watch the waves, in the interests of safety, as my friends bob about and then thrust forward towards the next swim buoy. While others exert themselves to battle wind and tide for the benefit of their health, both mental and physical, I use the time to recharge my batteries and to mindfully let go of the demands of the day.
Fortunately it hasn't got quite this cold this year....yet! We almost never get snow on the beach, but this was only a few years ago and I couldn't resist sharing it with you.
One of our local traditions is the Christmas Day dip. It's always been a very informal affair, where a handful of people gather, they have a quick photo, a swim or dip and then a cup of something warm and sustaining from our friends Dawn and Jerome at The Devonport Inn, the pub on The Cleave, next to the beach and Chris and Liz at The Old Bakery. It's a great coming together of folks who have a common interest and provides an opportunity to show off the new Christmas jumper or to catch up with friends that we haven't seen in the busy run up to Christmas.l
I am expecting that this year will be similar, apart from the obvious need to keep more distance from your neighbours than usual in the interests of public health!
Do you share this enthusiasm for cold water swimming, if so, tell me more! Or do you have any other outdoor Christmas traditions? I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your Christmas traditions with us on Instagram or Facebook or any other means!
I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to a bright 2021.
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