Scarborough New Year’s Day Dip

What kind of crazy person goes swimming in the North Sea in winter? My sister-in-law, that’s who. Yesterday, we went to Scarborough on the North Yorkshire coast, to join the New Year’s Day Lions Club fundraising dip. Ben’s sister swims every weekend in Lake Geneva so she is well-trained in icy dips. I thought about participating too for about, oh, 2 seconds and decided against it.

The weather was revolting: rain, wind and bitterly cold. But this didn’t stop dozens of people from dressing up and braving the North Sea all for a good cause.



Scarborough is an interesting place. It’s along a rugged and beautiful strip of coast with a couple of large sandy beaches but the shore line is littered with a series of tacky entertainment venues of the sort you’d find at an annual fair. There was a haunted house, a number of pokie machine establishments and places selling cheap and flimsy toys. Is that really what people want to do when they visit the beach?

Now that Christmas and New Year have been and gone, I am feeling down. This is because there’s nothing standing in the way of our return to Auckland. Previously I had the barrier of Christmas and New Year. Now there is nothing but preparations. Why am I so sad about returning to Auckland? I have been living my dream here in York which is simply to live without an automobile and ride a bicycle everywhere. Is that really so much to ask? I don’t think I’ve set my sights particularly high but it has been an impossible dream to have in all the places I’ve lived in Australia and New Zealand. But here it has been so easy. Other people dream of winning lotto or of climbing to the top of Mt Everest. All I want is to ride a bicycle.


  1. While working as a freshwater ecologist in the Tassie wilderness, I often cooled off at the end of a day with a skinnydip in pristine mountain streams where the air temperature was around 10C but the water temperature as low as 3C. I also recently completed a tough mudder event where one of the obstacles on the 19km run through mud was called the “Arctic Enema”. This was a dip into a shipping container filled with icy water (more ice than water). That said, that dip in the North Sea looks positively chilly, though I suspect the miserable weather would actually improve it, relatively speaking.

    1. 3C is very chilly. The North Sea around Scarborough on New Year’s Day was just under 8C, so positively balmy compared to your dip in Tassie. I would love to go to Tasmania one day and if I ever move back to Australia I think Hobart would be my city of choice. I bet it was nice working in the Tassie wilderness.

  2. About your feeling a bit down. You have been fortunate to see and live in so many parts of the world that most of us will never have the opportunity to see or do. You have wonderful pictures to treasure and remind you of these places. You have two beautiful children who are having terrific experiences every day.

    I have a stationary Not quite the same thing as riding with the wind at ones back. In the summer I do have a small table fan blowing on me. I suppose I could put the bike in front of the TV and watch a travel channel or something.

    So you need to start thinking outside the box or perhaps outside the bike. 🙂

    1. I have been thinking of joining one of those awful testosterone-filled places called gyms when we get back. They have lots of stationary bicycles. That would be cycling inside the box (or building) 🙂

      1. This isn’t my blog so I hope I’m not intruding. I just have to say that argentumvulgaris’ comments are hilarious! 🙂

      2. You’re not intruding at all. It’s a good sign when commentators start communicating with each other. This is something I encourage 🙂

  3. Perhaps now that you have had the experiences that you seek, it will enable and inspire you to seek and find them again. I hope so. At least you have some new friends. I’ve already wished you a Happy New Year so Happy 2015. 🙂

  4. Rachel. When I was studying in England I was on a (mature) student visa and, as the time for departure approached I got more and more down. I did NOT want to return to NZ! After 6 months of being miserable and in denial I realised I hadn’t been all that ‘mature’ about preparing myself to leave. My life there was pure bliss pursuing my dream and I grieved.
    Christchurch is an easy city to cycle in and once the Avon banks are finished we will be able to cycle along a green designated pathway to the centre of the city. The houses right back to your old house are slowly coming down so you can imagine what wonderful green spaces are being created.This whole experience has been enriching for you all and I can’t help feeling that that is because of the parents you are. You will be those same parents back here and you will search out other excitements which won’t be the same but will be just as enriching. Everything changes and all things must change. I am feeling for you.

    1. Did it take you long to settle back into life in NZ, Lorraine? I did love living in Christchurch and I’m sure that one day it will be a fine city again. I can never return to the South Island though because I’m too freaked out by earthquakes and there’s the alpine fault very near and due.

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