Daredevils brave the cold for New Year swims

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HARDY swimmers defied the chilly weather to take a New Year’s dip in rivers and pools across West and North Yorkshire.

An annual New Year’s Day endurance challenge saw thrill-seekers brave the cold water plunge bath at White Wells spa cottage on Ilkley Moor.

Traditional New Years Plunge at White Wells, Ilkley.  Pictured are plungers Helen Kelley and Jonathan Crane.  1 January 2016.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

Traditional New Years Plunge at White Wells, Ilkley. Pictured are plungers Helen Kelley and Jonathan Crane. 1 January 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson

The water temperature in the 8ft by 6ft stone bath is estimated at just seven degrees centigrade. Swimmers enjoyed taking part in the Joe Town Memorial Swim in the River Wharfe near Otley Bridge yesterday. The annual New Year’s Day swim was named in memory of the swimming instructor from Yeadon who organised it for many years before his death in 2011.

And more than 100 swimmers donned fancy dress outfits before taking part in the fourth annual New Year’s Day ‘Big Dip’ event at Bramley Baths in west Leeds.

This year’s event raised cash for flood victims in Leeds. Bramley Baths volunteer Fran Graham said: “We have had some amazing fancy dress costumes this year. We had Morris dancers and a family of super heroes, including Batman and Mr Incredible. We also had a Victorian swimmer and an Elvis in the pool.”

And in Scarborough thousands of people flocked to the South Bay for the traditional New Year’s Day Dip. The Scarborough Lions event is a highlight of the town’s festive calendar.

1 January 2016.......     Bramley Baths fancy dress new year dip. Picture Tony Johnson

1 January 2016....... Bramley Baths fancy dress new year dip. Picture Tony Johnson

Organiser Alan Deacon said: “Normally we have around 80 to 100 dippers and crowd wise we have two, possibly three thousand.”

The Scarborough New Years Day dip gets underway on South Bay beach. .Cat Tully enjoys a refreshig dip.pic Richard Ponter 160101f

The Scarborough New Years Day dip gets underway on South Bay beach. .Cat Tully enjoys a refreshig dip.pic Richard Ponter 160101f