Why do we do it? A Cromer Boxing Day dip swimmer gives her take on the tradition

Cromer boxing day dip 2014. EDP reporter Kate Royall gets ready to do the dip with her Go-Pro camera

Cromer boxing day dip 2014. EDP reporter Kate Royall gets ready to do the dip with her Go-Pro camera.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

It all started five years ago, one Christmas Eve in the pub.

Kate Royall takes the plunge in Cromer's Boxing Day Dip. Picture: Kate Royall

Kate Royall takes the plunge in Cromer's Boxing Day Dip. Picture: Kate Royall - Credit: Archant

It all started five years ago, one Christmas Eve in the pub.

The usual banter with my brother initiated talk of the Boxing Day dip. Full of beer and bonhomie we made a pact: in 36 hours time we would run into the cold North sea not once, but twice, a tradition that seems unique to Cromer.

In the cold light of day my brother thought less of the pact than he had done 12 hours earlier, so my companion for the dip that year, and every year since, has been my good friend Ruth Graveling.

Boxing Day doesn't quite seem right without the annual tradition of joining hundreds of brave and hardy souls for the invigorating and shocking dip in the sea.


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It is always a joy to see thousands of spectators lining the cliffs, promenade and pier as you start the nerve-racking countdown before the mad dash in to the swirling sea, which quite literally takes your breath away.

Once we have all 'dipped' it's a rush out to shore before the countdown begins again ahead of the second dip – which always seems much warmer.

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In 2013 we did a third dip but refused to join the dozen or so who attempted the fourth.

Then the task is on to get dressed, trying to retain some decorum, without dropping your towel.

The atmosphere on the beach, and in the town, is electric on the day.

Pre-dip you see hundreds of people descending towards the beach laden with dressing gowns and towels, post-dip the pubs are packed with soggy souls warming up with hot chocolate, mulled wine and rum.

Click here for pictures of this year's Boxing Day dips

It's a day which sees the town do what it does best – volunteers coming together to raise funds for charity and celebrating its community spirit in a way that only Cromer can – and that is why I continue to do it.

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