76d – Swanage Part I

It was Boxing Day.  Grey.  Windy.  Cold.  The weather forecast told us it was due to rain just after lunch and we hurried towards Swanage in the hope of finishing our walk before the rain started.  A thin veil of wet mist had draped itself right over the middle of the town.  We could just about make it out from our vantage point on Ballard Cliff, spread across the lowest part of the town and almost imperceptible.

SwanageSo there we were, doing our Boxing Day Walk and hoping we would finish before the rain started.  Who would want to be out in weather like this?

It was a degree of surprise that as we approached the town centre I noticed a huge gathering on the beach.  Clearly there were lots of people who wanted to be out on a day like this.  What was this?  There seemed to be some very thin person dressed up in a Father Christmas outfit.  In fact there were quite a few people dressed up in Father Christmas outfits.  And then it dawned on me – it was Boxing Day!  This was a Boxing Day swim!  I had never seen one of these before!  They were all bonkers!

Swanage Boxing Day SwimI learnt a few things about Boxing Day Swims:

  • For the most part they last less than 10 seconds.  When the whistle goes there is a mad rush as everyone runs into the water; a few seconds later there is an even madder rush as everyone tries to get out again.
  • Quite a few people intend to swim but actually don’t.  It’s not their fault.  They Dunk and Flee.  Their body’s survival instinct takes over and they can’t help it.

Swanage Boxing Day Swim

  • After the Dunk and Flee manoeuvre some people get sent back in again by their so-called friends who think they performed poorly on the first attempt.  There is a “second wave” of people running in a few seconds after the first wave.
  • Second wave attacks are generally about as successful as the first.
  • People come out looking much more scarlet than they did when they went in.  Even those in Father Christmas costumes.

I must applaud the few impressively hardy souls who not only went in, but stayed in.  But it didn’t look fun!

Swanage Boxing Day SwimA short while later, after we saw this heading over Swanage Bay.  I hope they weren’t going to winch bedraggled and hypothermic Father Christmases from the icy waters!


Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • Swanage Boxing Day Swim:  N 50° 36.520 W 001° 57.360

Walk #76 Statistics (of which this post forms the fourth part):


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1 Response to 76d – Swanage Part I

  1. Jill says:

    By us, we have ‘Polar Plunges’, usually held during January, February
    and March – our coldest months.

    They are held as fund raisers and usually have huge turnouts. A lot of
    people don’t mind submersing their bodies in close-to-freezing water in
    sub zero temperatures for charity 🙂

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