New Year's Day dip at Alnmouth beach called off due to Covid pandemic

The annual New Year’s Day dip at Alnmouth beach has been cancelled.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 6th December 2020, 9:47 am

More than 200 people took part in the 2020 event – a record number – but organisers have decided a mass participation event can’t take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Event organiser Nick Mattlock said: “It is with regret that Alnmouth Post Office has decided not to co-ordinate an organised ‘dip’ event for New Year’s Day 2021.

"It would be tremendous to start 2021 with something positive that supports local charities and to bid farewell to the deprivations of 2020, but we are not all yet tracked, traced or vaccinated so it would be simply irresponsible.

The dash for the North Sea.

"In the past couple of years participation has exceeded all expectations, we have over 200 people of all ages lining up across the sand and charging into the sea, watched by up to a further 500 people. If they all observed 2m social distancing they’d stretch from Warkworth to Boulmer!"

The 2020 event was the seventh staging of an Alnmouth dip.

Many participants plunged into the freezing waters of the North Sea wearing fancy dress, raising money for charities including the RNLI, HospiceCare North Northumberland and the Hindmarsh Hall.

It is all a far cry from the inaugural event in 2013 when Nick recalls he was one of just six people ‘coerced’ into taking part.

NewYear's Day Dip 2020 at Alnmouth beach. Picture by Jane Coltman

The community spirit traditionally continues long into the afternoon at the village pubs but Tier 3 restrictions also place those thoughts in doubt.

Nick hopes a few hardy individuals will still take a socially-distanced plunge to keep the tradition going.

“The beach car park will be open as usual and the sea is always there for anyone to jump in if they so desire,” he said.

"It would be great if individuals continued to uphold the tradition and raise money for their charity of choice, but we won’t be organising a mass event, nor asking the coastguards to attend and the Boat House won’t be available for changing in.

Participants emerging triumphant after the NewYear's Day Dip 2020 at Alnmouth beach. Picture by Jane Coltman

"We’ll strive to make the 2022 New Year’s Day dip a truly memorable event in 12 months’ time.”

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NewYear's Day Dip 2020 at Alnmouth beach. Picture by Jane Coltman
Mission completed at the NewYear's Day Dip 2020 at Alnmouth beach. Picture by Jane Coltman