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Monday, 28 September 2015

Skinny Dip!!! Yay!! Jeez Brrrrr!

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Yes folks, it was that time again – The North-East Skinny Dip in aid of Mind.
This year the venue moved from a remote part of Druridge Bay to the Visitor Centre where, for a fiver, a tent could be put up. And the toilets were open and, in the morning, so was the cafe (although a huuuuge post-dip queue indicating an overwhelmed server-on had us driving up the A1 for a “Drivers Breakdast” at Belford.) The change of venue to a more civilised spot probably caused the increase in numbers of dippers this year – I understand that there was 300, or, maybe, 350 altogether of people in the altogether.
Anyway, I collected Dawn from the Usual Place and we camped for a noisy night amongst much laughter and late-night clinking of bottles and some light striptease and/or streaking from some of the less inhibited campers. We were much more refined, as we should be at our age.
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And then it was quarter to five in the morning – yes folks, there really is another quarter to five in a day – this one in the middle of the night, it seems, and perishing cold it was too, the only light being the huge brown moon sitting on the treetops.
Eventually, and by some miracle of night-time navigation involving following somebody else, we found ourselves on beach with a flat sea slapping lazily at the hard sand (too early for the sea to wake up, obviously). I made the mistake of filling some of the wait for dip-time with a little paddle. This anaesthetised my toes very effectively, or actually, it made them hurt if I’m honest.
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Something inaudible was announced on a megaphone and then, suddenly, everybody stripped off, did a count-down and charged towards the sea.
Dawn’s comment on the way to the briny was “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” I strongly suspect that quite a few others were either saying, or at least, thinking exactly the same thing.
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Then we were in. Splashing and laughing and shivering and screaming and, in may cases, trying to breathe.
Then, there was a cheer and a round of applause, apparently aimed at the sun which had just peeped over the horizon. Many rushed for the shore and warm trollies. I stayed in for a while, coming out only to collect my camera for a few pics of this magical scene of humanity in it’s salty, beautiful playground, bathed, as it was , in gold.
I took some pic of the well wrapped-up press photographers snapping the massed undressed cavorting in the sea..
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This girl was taking instructions from a photographer so that the sun would be cradled in her arms. To get the same picture I would have had to sit on his knee. I suspect that this might have caused some tension, so I did as best I could:
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The last picture I took before my camera broke is this one:
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Serves me right, I suppose.
So there are no pictures of the achingly beautiful Ross Back Sands where we spent the rest of the day snoozing and reading and brewing (and, in my case, dipping again) in the warm sunshine. Shame, really.
So, that’s another dip dipped. I shall do it again. I’m grateful to Dawn for her support – I’m never keen on being the single (old) male on these occasions, so Dawn’s presence made it easier for me and, in the process, she’s raised a couple of hundred quid for Mind too, so it’s all good. We could do with a few more recruits, though, I think. Anybody feeling daft/brave/too warm?
As for me, the greeting of the sun by many dippers was spiritual and the whole thing has left me feeling euphoric for some unexplainable reason – I suppose it’s the same mixture of joy and spirituality that you get at Yule with the connection to the turning of the year and all that. And then there’s quite a lot of people being quite brave about revealing their bodies against instilled social taboos, overcoming shyness, inhibitions and fear. And doing something a bit naughty too.  I’m hoping that the event grows in popularity even more. I could be quite evangelistic about this if I tried…



Dawn Linney said...

It was indeed something special. Donations for MIND are now heading toward £300:50.

John J said...

Hmm, I reckon sponsoring you two is significantly less painfull than freezing my wotsits off in the North Sea!
Well done anyway :-)

Quinn said...

I feel quite exhilarated just from reading this post! Thanks!
And well done, you and Dawn :)

Laura said...

Well done Both - looks magical...