Swimmers take daily dip - but no wetsuits allowed

So far, Bob Moulden has swam the equivalent of 14 Channel crossings

So far, Bob Moulden has swam the equivalent of 14 Channel crossings - Credit: Senga Wallace Roche

How do you fancy chucking yourself in the cold sea every day for 365 consecutive days, come rain, hail or gale? Forget shine. No wetsuits allowed! 

You can wear a swimming costume, which is probably just as well. Not all doom and gloom then.

I came across a recent news item extoling the benefits of wild, cold water swimming. Among other things it is thought to improve mental health.

My view? You would have to be certifiable to do it in the first place! 

Apparently not. It seems that lots of perfectly sensible people are doing this. 

Some have joined the fundraising effort at www.365seaswimchallenge.com.

This organisation has so far donated £10,000 to local ventures, shared between two main beneficiaries, The Seal Project and Shoalstone Seawater Pool.

Emily and Liz take their daily dip in the sea.

Emily and Liz take their daily dip in the sea. - Credit: Senga Wallace Roche

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They are now looking for individual swimmers, pairs, or teams of four to sign up for the Spring 365 Sea Swim Challenge. 

You can, of course, choose your own preferred charity. 

One hardy individual who has done just that, is an amazing, Brixham guy called Bob Moulden.

He has taken up the challenge and is raising sponsorship for his chosen charity, Muscular Dystrophy.

Sadly, the four-year-old son of friends died from the ravages of the disease.

Muscular Dystrophy is a group of inherited, genetic disorders which cause gradual weakening of the muscles. When the genetic mutation affects the structure and function of the heart or muscles used for breathing, the condition becomes life threatening. There is no cure.

There are 70,000 people in the UK with MD and about 100 boys are born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the most common type, every year.

Scientists are looking at ways of repairing the genetic faults and damaged muscles. According to the NHS website, there are currently promising clinical trials related to Duchenne MD. 

I am a regular, fine weather, sea swimmer. To illustrate this point, the last time I went in was on January 18. A balmy day, positively tropical. You see, definitely certifiable. I would not describe myself as a wild swimmer, perhaps slightly cross sums it up.

I met Bob at Breakwater beach in Brixham, often between 7.30am and 8am. Bob, a 68-year-old retired fisherman has lived in Brixham for almost half his life.

When not in the water, he is on it, being a keen gig rower. 

I asked him how many miles he reckoned to swim over the year. He estimated that it probably worked out at approximately half a mile a day.

If my GCSE in maths serves me right, that represents the equivalent of roughly 14 Channel swims!

The sea temperature is about 8C right now. We experience cold north easterly winds which can get up to speeds of 40mph.

When the sea is too wild at Breakwater beach, Bob swims at different, more sheltered locations so as not to miss a day. 

There are several additional Breakwater beach swimmers taking part in the challenge and I am sure that they, like Bob, all have their own stories to tell.

I find it difficult to understand such grit and determination and asked him how he managed to keep motivated; what was driving him?

He explained that he hoped the money he raised for Muscular Dystrophy might contribute to research that could possibly save or improve the quality of the life of some other little boy and save the parents the terrible grief of experiencing such a loss.

If you would like to sponsor Bob’ 365 Sea Swim Challenge, visit www.gofundme.com and search for Bob’s 365 Sea Swim Challenge. If you wish to donate directly to the muscular dystrophy charity, visit www.msculardystrophyuk.org

Alternatively, dig out the old swimsuit or trunks, don the goggles and dive in.