Last time round, the bracing power of the winter sea air was outweighed by the virality of hundreds of people running in the same direction at once, meaning few Christmas (and New Year) swims in Wales took place. This year, it’s currently set to be back on track…
Porthcawl Christmas Day Swim
This one has a pretty good claim to be the big dog of the Wales Christmas swim roster – not that it’s a competition, really. It’s been going since the mid-1960s, claims to attract four-figure crowds in their cossies each year, and raises fat stacks for charity by doing so – this year, Wales Air Ambulance are the primary beneficiaries. The dash into the sea starts at 11.45am and everyone who signs up to take part gets a free coffee mug, should that info sway you.
Tenby Boxing Day Swim
Good things, specifically ones involving round numbers, come to those who wait, which the Tenby Boxing Day Swimmers have had to do to celebrate their 50th birthday event. (Disregard that if it ends up being postponed again, obviously… along with most of this issue’s content should that transpire.) This one sets itself up on Tenby’s North Beach, perhaps one of the finest sandy vistas in Wales – even in the cold of Christmas – and has traditionally attracted several hundred swimmers on an average year.
Whitesands New Year’s Day Charity Swim
Another of one of this nation’s top tier beaches, again in Pembrokeshire (on the St David’s peninsula to be exact), Whitesands’ annual New Year’s Day swim is organised by a local volunteer charity, The Penknife Club, and kicks off at midday on Jan 1. It costs a fiver to enter, which goes to good local causes, and you can decamp to the nearby(ish) rugby club after and get a complementary bowl of cawl for your troubles.
Winter Surf Stays, Snowdonia
Here’s a wild card pick from the not-actually-that-frozen north! These are year-round, three-day getaways in Adventure Parc Snowdonia, which incorporates a sustainably cycled lagoon. Here, you’ll start each day with a brisk swim before mounting your board and catching waves and being tutored by a surf coach into the bargain. On top of all that, you’ll be staying in the Hilton Garden Inn here, and will have access to the Adventure Parc’s wide-ranging spa facilities. Oh, and it costs £365 per head or £630 for a pair of you. Not a bad late Christmas present for yourself – or a loved one.
words NOEL GARDNER
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