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‘It's part of the fun to suffer’: the people hitting the great outdoors this Christmas

Meet the river swimmers, paddleboarding Santas and others who won’t be spending Christmas on the couch. By Daniel Masoliver

Normally, there’s only one way to get into 4C water: in a hurry. From Southampton to Sydney via St Petersburg, an in-and-out New Year’s Day dunk is a long-established custom; the image of hordes of swimmers charging en masse to meet the wintry waves a familiar one. But go down to the picturesque banks of the river Stour at Dedham in the early morning of 1 January 2018, and you will find an altogether more sedate, low-key gathering, as a small but committed group of swimmers pull on their wetsuits ahead of their annual New Year’s Day swim. “We get together our thickest wetties and hoods and gloves and boots,” says Stuart Hamilton, 53. “Every year when we first get in, everybody complains about the cold, but that’s part of the fun, to suffer a bit. And to overcome the suffering.”

Read the interesting article and see the pictures @ The Guardian