Brave swimmers take a Boxing Day dip in North Somerset

A number of Boxing Day swims may have been cancelled this year because of coronavirus, but that hasn't stopped a handful of brave swimmers taking a dip in North Somerset.

Several took to the chilly waters at Clevedon Marine Lake today (Saturday 26 December) despite the town's annual event being called off.

On a typical Boxing Day, crowds usually gather at the popular spot to see dozens of swimmers take the plunge into the icy cold water for a festive paddle.

Today North Somerset has entered 'Tier 3 - Very High Alert' which means people can meet in outdoor public spaces, but not indoors.

Earlier this month it was confirmed "all organised events" at the lake were off because it was impossible to stage them with adequate social distancing.

A post on Facebook read: "All organised events at the lake are cancelled, however the lake is still open. We ask that you respect social distancing.

"Clevedon is in tier 2, please don't come to the lake if you live in tier 3. Clevedon will move into tier 3 on the 26th, please don't come to the lake if you live in tier 4.

"You can exercise anywhere - you do not need to travel and risk others (the residents of Clevedon)."

The Boxing Day swim is a Christmas tradition for many.

Despite the cancellations, some brave individuals stuck to the tradition this year.

One swimmer called Sian said: "I love swimming outside and I come to swim with my friend Bea. It's great to spend some time together."

She added: "It's great fun and look at the healthy glow I have on me!"

For this man, cold water swimming works wonders for his mental health.

Cold water swimming also has mental health benefits. According to one man in the North Somerset town, it has been a "major turnaround" for him.

Despite medication, doctors interventions and everything, the major turnaround has been this.

Cold water swimmer

For others, the cold swim on Boxing Day has provided a distraction from not being able to spend time with family this year.

Another swimmer told us: "I can't travel to my family because they're in the wrong zone, so it's something refreshing to do and different.

"I've taken it up during lockdown as my way of keeping fit. I've got a broken leg at the moment so I can't run, but I can still swim."

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