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  1. #1
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    Swimming in the sea in the UK

    There's a saying, "how do you know if someone is an open water swimmer? - Because they'll tell you". So here goes.

    I'd previously swum in the Summer in Welsh lakes and the sea in the South of England when the temperature was >14/15C. A couple of weeks ago my neighbour in Kent suggested I join her group of friends who swim year round. She kindly bought me some neoprene socks, gloves and a swim cap (considered essential gear even for "skin swimming". So off I went to to Ramsgate for my first swim in cold water. Water temp 8C.

    The socks and gloves reduce the cold water shock considerably. Heart rate and breathing rate increased. I had to fight to keep my breathing slow and deep. The first swim parallel to the shore between the sea walls. A degree of pain appeared across my body 2-5 minutes in. This subsided to a feeling of calmness and I honestly started to really enjoy the experience.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Swimming in the sea in the UK-35abeade-f6ec-4395-aad2-63c7c5b1f6bd-jpeg  

  2. #2
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    Swimming in the sea in the UK-3ba97078-c634-4d66-b92b-3f3e182ef3be-jpeg

  3. #3
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    Swimming in the sea in the UK-2f174a38-8982-487d-ac5c-f73112a8dcb7-jpeg

  5. #5
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    Swimming in the sea in the UK-676a1844-e6c1-4827-aa53-1e6ed0233f36-jpeg

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    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    ...so, no fear of great whites then...

  7. #7
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    Swimming in the sea in the UK-f60d25e0-e71d-4152-b496-bda3bd994ce5-jpeg

  8. #8
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    Swimming in the sea in the UK-7143e115-0138-45ca-8ef3-0cc742e269f0-jpeg

  9. #9
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    No sharks! There's a nearby colony of seals so any sharks have alternative dining options.

    Some of the pics are at Walpole Bay Tidal Pool

    Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is 80 today – this is how it all began – The Isle Of Thanet News

    pole Bay pool

    Today (June 25) Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is 80 years old.
    The pool was officially declared open at 3.30pm, June 25, 1937. It is one of two tidal pools constructed in Margate at the same date, the other nearby at Marine Terrace, on Margate Main Sands. The Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is Grade ll listed.
    Photo SEASIt was constructed to make it possible for large numbers of people to bathe in the sea at all states of the tides because the beaches at Margate and Cliftonville sloped gradually, and there was a considerable tidal range so that the low water mark could be as far as 300 yards from the promenade.
    Design

    The Walpole Bay Tidal Pool was designed by Mr. E. A. Borg, M.Inst.C.E., the late borough engineer of Margate. It was constructed with modifications by his successor Mr. W. L. Armstrong, B.Sc., Assoc.M. Inst.C.E using direct labour, at a cost of 7000. It covers an area of 4 acres and is 450ft long, 300ft wide at the seaward end and 550ft wide at the landward end. There are walls on three sides with the chalk beach used as a floor. It originally had two diving boards.

    Walpole Bay Tidal Pool covers 4 acres, which is larger than the two largest listed seawater lidos, Penzance and Lymington. In shape it forms three sides of a rectangle, the seaward end and two sides, which increase in width towards the landward end where there is no wall, the beach acting as the fourth side.
    Photo SEASThe wall is two or three feet wide and ranges from two or three feet above the shore at the landward end to about seven feet deep at the seaward end. Its shape and scale can best be appreciated from the top of the cliffs.
    Ambitious

    This was an ambitious engineering feat. Each concrete block weighed about one ton in weight and had to be fixed into position by hand crane. The work was carried out by day and night to take advantage of every tide.
    Photo SEASThis was especially necessary in the case of the Walpole Bay pool, where it was never possible to work on the outer wall more than a few spring tides each month, as the neap tides never leave this position. The construction of the pool is simply the enclosure of the foreshore by two side walls and an end wall, and the natural beach has been utilised as the floor of the pool, the slope giving a graded deepening of the water to a maximum of about 6 ft. 6 in.

    The walls are in all cases founded on solid chalk and built of interlocking concrete blocks. At intervals of 12 ft., old tram rails are concreted into the walls, running about 5 ft. deep into the chalk foundation and up to within 1 ft. of the top of the wall. An expansion joint is provided between each pair of rails that is about every six blocks in the top course, as it was considered that the bottom courses, being wholly submerged on one side, would not be affected by temperature variations as much as the top course.
    Fresh springs

    It is an interesting feature that in the case of Walpole Bay pool, there are copious pure fresh water springs arising from the beach within the confines of the walls and the pool is continuously overflowing by the supply of fresh clean water from the floor of the pool.
    Photo SEASOverflows are fixed in the top course of blocks, each 2 ft. wide, 6 in. below the top of the wall, so that as the tide recedes the top water line is 6 in. below the top. Hand-ropes were fixed round the wall and there were a number of lifebelts; four flights of steps (one in each back corner and one on each side about halfway along the pool – these still exist), and two diving boards.
    Three penstocks are fixed in the outer walls of sufficient size to empty either of the pools in about two hours. Concrete blocks were made in blockyards near the pools. These were conveyed by Fordson tractor and trailer to the site of the works, and fixed in position by cranes running on tracks laid inside the walls. The structure survives intact except for the loss of its two diving boards. However, a number of listed lidos no longer retain their diving boards.

    Oliver Merrington’s website lists 24 tidal pools in the British Isles of which only 13 are in England. Few were built as large and survive as complete as the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool.
    Unique

    Margate is the only place in the list of 13 where two tidal pools were constructed. The Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is near a Grade II Listed 1935 Art Deco-style concrete lift which provided easy access from the top of the cliff to the foreshore for users of the tidal pool.

    As a structure the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool has social historical interest as it provided an improvement to sea bathing at the period of the greatest popularity of the English seaside.
    Frequent tests are taken of the water and indicate that the purity of the water is not the least inferior to that of the open sea.

    Celebrations

    When Walpole Bay Tidal Pool was built in 1937, Margate was one of the grandest resort towns in England. 80 years on, Margate’s demographic has changed dramatically, and so has the way this vast sea pool is used and enjoyed.
    It is now regularly used by the Walpole Bay Swimmerswho are celebrating the 80th birthday with a series of events today.
    Join in for a picnic at 2pm then perhaps a dip around 4.30pm to mark a special day for the pool, outdoor swimmers and Cliftonville residents.

    At 5pm there will be a sailing and judging of boat-making with Turner Contemporary and at 6pm there will be a beach clean.
    There will also be entertainment and information from guest including Sea Shanty Singers, HotPod Yoga, SEAS archivist Karen Shepherdson and photographer Rob Ball, KFRS and Kent Scuba Divers.
    A film will also be showing at the Tom Thumb Theatre
    The debut screening of a new film ‘Taking the Waters’ about the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool is being shown this Sunday at 5,6&7pm at The Tom Thumb Theatre
    Call01843 221 791.

    Get the bus!

    Parking is limited near the pool as there is a one in one out accessible ramp down to Hodges Gap. Avoid coming by car-choose arriving by foot, bike or bus! There is a total dog ban on this beach from May 1st-September 1st so leave pooch at home.
    Last edited by Lostandfound; 10-04-2021 at 07:04 PM.

  10. #10
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    Swimming in the sea in the UK-4789052b-6e7a-44ff-bfe4-86928036dae3-jpeg

    the proper uniform is required.....

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Looks flipping cold, no thanks for me!

  12. #12
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    Any Wats to visit?

  13. #13
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    It's the cold that feels good, honestly. It takes some getting used to.

    it is more popular with females than males. Maybe it's the massive rush of endorphins they are chasing. Or men are just paranoid about their willies shrivelling to nothing and their balls retreating into their stomachs. There are benefits to the libido. No need for Viagra (once warmed up, that is).

    I'm finding 10-15 minutes enough after 11 days. Swimming alone yesterday I started to feel a bit disconnected from the world towards the end. Whether that was the hangover or my brain about to shut down I'm not sure. I swam back as a precaution.

  14. #14
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    I can count on my fingers the number of times I got in the sea in 29 years of living there. Mind you I did live up North.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lostandfound View Post
    Water temp 8C.
    I have been in the water at 8C, with my Weezle Extreme undersuit over my longjohns and under my drysuit, plus winter weight neoprene gloves and hood. It was still cold.

    Respect for doing it. I'll not be joining you.
    Last edited by Shutree; 12-04-2021 at 01:22 PM. Reason: Weezle photo refused to load. I might give up with pics.

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    Attachment 67031

    The only attire for any sane person wishing to swim in UK waters.

    Last edited by Shutree; 12-04-2021 at 02:32 PM. Reason: Jeez! What is it about getting pictures to load?

  17. #17
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    Swim #15. Circa 750 metres. It's getting more comfortable to enter the water. I've only been ducking my head occasionally in the last 3/4 swims. It's still painful on face and 10 -15 strokes is the limit, but that's improving in a 1.5x a day basis. Recovery times from the cold are improving. The dry robe is invaluable post swim to return to the car a d drive home for a hot drink before a 15 minute warm, then increasingly hot shower

    Swimming in the sea in the UK-5a52ee42-bfe2-44f2-994d-459c0bf8bc96-jpeg

  18. #18
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    I guess there's a fine line between "refreshing" and "fucking hell, get me out of here," but things will start to ease from now on as the weather begins to improve. It does look like it will certainly wake you up though and that warm shower must be lovely when you get back home!

    Surprisingly, I had a dip (well, my legs) in both Blackpool and Scarborough in the summer and it was quite pleasant. Plenty of people in the sea enjoying themselves and not the disgusting polluted waters that I recall from holidays as a kid in Blacky.

    Enjoy!
    9

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hallelujah View Post
    not the disgusting polluted waters that I recall from holidays as a kid in Blacky.
    Thank the EU Regulators for the improvements.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Thank the EU Regulators for the improvements.
    Indeed. Shame they couldn't improve the weather too.

  21. #21
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    when i was a kid i used to swim regularly in the rivers in the uk. that was summertime in north yorkshire and although the water was still cold it never bothered me.

    we also used to swim in the sea at blackpool and filey and the cold was never a problem, but last time i put my foot in the north sea (last summer ... scarborough) i got as far as ankle deep and that was enough.

    for over 20 years i used to swim every morning before work at the local indoor pool, and if the water temperature was below 27C i would find it cold and hated the first 20 seconds or so. 29C-30C was the ideal temp. for me.

    so i dont know how you guys can immerse yourselves in water that cold.

    i have read that a 10 or 20 second cold shower first thing in the morning is of benefit to ones immune system and i sometimes do that, but it is extremely unpleasant and the 20 seconds feels like an eternity.
    Last edited by taxexile; 13-04-2021 at 08:35 PM.

  22. #22
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    Swim in that water? No, thank you.

    But i did do some dry suit diving off Plymouth a few years back, and that was pretty fucking cool.....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile View Post

    we also used to swim in the sea at blackpool and filey and the cold was never a problem, but last time i put my foot in the north sea (last summer ... scarborough) i got as far as ankle deep and that was enough.
    There were people out every morning in Scarborough and I didnt think it was too bad, but further up the coast at Robin Hood's Bay - a beautiful, if touristy place btw - the water was almost Mediterranean by comparison. This was August and it was quite pleasant.

  24. #24
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    I never liked dry suit diving. Much better in a wetsuit. At least you can have a pee.

    The risk of uncontrolled ascents also put me off. I'd frequently hear Maydays from dive boats over wrecks at 40-70 m in the Channel whilst sailing out of Poole.

  25. #25
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    What for a dry or wet suit? Just kanken nai...

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