• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Edinburgh Swimrise: Hundreds of swimmers celebrate International Women’s Day

BySarah Challen Flynn

Mar 10, 2023
Many swimmers stand on the beach as the sun is rising

This morning, hundreds of swimmers gathered at Portobello beach to take a sunrise plunge for International Women’s Day.

The annual Swimrise event, organised by Anna Deacon, author of Taking The Plunge and The Art of Wild Swimming coincides with similar events held throughout the UK.

Despite the official event being cancelled due to the extreme low weather, many swimming groups and individuals still braved the -3 degree temperature.

Organisers of the event consulted with an RNLI safety operative, concluding that the event should be cancelled for safety concerns. 

On the event Facebook page, the organisers said “we are sorry to say we have made the difficult decision to cancel the International Women’s Day swimrise dip tomorrow morning.”

“Temperatures are so low that we feel it should no longer go ahead.”

However, many wild swimming groups and individuals still chose to partake in a bracing swim to celebrate International Women’s Day.

In the past years, wild swimming has grown rapidly in popularity, largely boosted by periods of lockdown encouraging people to access outdoor activities.

The Outdoor Swimming Society saw its membership grow 36 per cent in 2020 and an increase of 75,000 members since 2020.

New swimmers are advised to consult safety advice, as the cold water shock can be dangerous.

Fundraising for Edinburgh Women’s Aid, Swimrise organisers encouraged all participants to donate.

Edinburgh Women’s Aid provides essential support to women fleeing domestic abuse. 

Last year, the event drew around 700 swimmers and raised over £8,000 for a variety of charities. 

As the sun rose at 6:45, wide cheers were heard throughout the crowd. 

Despite the sub-zero temperature, the event showcased community spirit and joy.

Image by Sarah Challen Flynn