Goose pimples galore as brave bathers make splash to mark New Year tradition

A proud old Yorkshire tradition was observed yesterday, despite the freezing weather.

Brave souls welcomed the New Year with a dip in the icy spa water at White Wells in Ilkley and on Scarborough seafront.

There has been bathing at White Wells since 1703 and although the water has no significant mineral content it is the coldness of the water which stimulates the circulation.

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White Wells was instrumental in establishing Ilkley as a spa town.

A number of large hydros were built in the Ilkley area during the 19th century where people could come to "take the waters", believing all manner of ailments could be cured. Charles Darwin visited Ilkley in 1859 and is believed to have "taken the waters" at White Wells.

Nowadays New Year's Day is the normal time for this activity. There are usually over 100 plungers throughout the day.

Meanwhile, fund-raisers braved the icy sea for Scarborough Lions Club's annual New Year Dip in the South Bay.

Every year dozens of people in fancy dress take part in the traditional plunge, wearing a range of colourful costumes.

Three-quarters of the money raised goes to various charities chosen by the dippers, while the rest goes to the Lions.

In the past, bathers have defied snow and freezing temperatures.