Saturday, 19 December 2009

Brockwell Lido Midwinter Swim

Saturday morning saw the annual Midwinter Swim take place at Brixton's Brockwell Lido. Over a hundred hardy (foolhardy?) South Londoners took to the freezing water, but only after the ice had been broken. Some frolicked in their bikinis while others were covered head to toe in Neoprene. I opted for the two width swim which felt fine until about 10 metres from the end when everything seemed to go into slow motion. Still, the sun was shining and the showers were hot.

Of course this was but a mere dip. With all the current talk about global temperatures rising and polar ice beginning to melt, I was reminded of Lewis Gordon Pugh's iconic swim in the Arctic. In July 2007 the former lawyer became the first person to complete a long distance swim at the Geographic North Pole, spending nearly 18 minutes in the sub-zero temperature water of a large crack in the ice. Pugh undertook the challenge to highlight the devastating effects of climate change - it was only made possible because over the past few years there has been a dramatic reduction in the extent and thickness of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. Watch a video of the swim here.

Back to Christmas 2009 and the British newspapers have already started reporting on the winter dips in silly hats events that take place up and down the country. Today, the FT features some picturesque places to get your kit off, and the rest of Fleet Street will follow over the next week or so.

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