Extra Crazy

frost on the ground.jpg

You have to have a challenge … right? … something to give a purpose to what you do? It is now January  and the heroic wild swimmers (me and Alfie) are doing well with our crazy scheme of swimming through the winter in the cold, cold North Sea.

On Sunday it reached a new low (temperature) and high (exhilaration and beauty).

black sheds.jpg

There was a hard frost on the ground. It was so cold that the frost was still there at mid-day. The sand was frozen hard …. it was cold. I reckon the sea temperature was between 6-7C. You can see the frost in the top photo.

sizewell beach.jpg

That wasn’t going to stop us though and in we went. It was cold, very cold. I still don’t have swimming gloves so it was my hands that really hurt, the rest of me felt fine.

But the sea was so still and blue-brown, the horizon blurred, Noel’s fishing boat purred out to sea, the odd fish swam up to us – to be honest this kind of freaked me out – it was quite possibly our best winter swim to date.


We got out and sat outside the beach hut basking in the sun drinking squash soup (and tea) and eating a peanut butter sandwich – utter bliss.

after cake and tea.jpg

Back to the challenge. I was looking for some gloves and found a website swim the lakes – they do half day swimming adventures, but the level of fitness required for some of these swims is that you can swim one or sometimes two miles in open water. I am not sure that I will ever get to go on any of these adventures but this is my new goal – to be able to swim 2 miles in open water (the North Sea) before the end of the year.


I think we will have to get most of our practice in when it is warmer – or get wetsuits – as the time it will take me to swim 2 miles right now is longer than I can stay in the water.

N.B. Alfie and I have noticed that we are acclimatising to the water, we can stay in longer and the shock of getting in is much reduced. Compare this to my shrieking and squeaking earlier this summer when I used to get in the sea!

N.B. please note the hotwater bottles that Alfie makes up for us before we swim. I get very cold about 10 minutes after the swim so I wear lots of jumpers and thermal tops and drink tea!

N.B. photos from Sunday’s cold swim and one last week when it was a touch warmer!

6 responses to “Extra Crazy

  1. Claire, as one who is also cold often, I’ve found that wearing the sleeves off an old sweater ( arms of a jumper) over the tights I wear, really really helps with my overall warmth factor. The trick is finding the right fit for your lower legs. Or maybe Alfie can crochet you a pair to fit exactly?!?

    • Hi Mary, I might try that – currently after a swim I can’t actually get tights or leggings on (fingers are too cold to work and the skin doesn’t dry so well in the cold I think) so I wear my thermal trousers which are looser. Actually though some jumper arms might be easier to pull up that tights/leggings xx

    • Hard to walk in ….. not sure they would be as warm as the socks – got to keep the extremities warm. I am getting a bit obsessed with the whole wild swimming thing now …..

    • We wear little neoprene (?) socks, woolly hats, Alfie wears a neoprene top and gloves, and I wear a top and a short wetsuit (covers your torso mainly) – actually I wear James’ old short wetsuit which is too big so lets in water, but I can’t find mine. I have just bought gloves though which is exciting. I want to add that we also wear knickers!

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