A record number of people took part in the annual North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, having run naked into the waves at dawn to mark the autumn equinox.
The event was held for a noble cause – to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.
“It was absolutely massive. There were 200 more people than last year. It’s just spiraled. I just want to express my eternal gratitude to everyone – the dippers, the volunteers, everyone. We’ve already raised £7,000 on the day, from donations and pledges and everything and there will be more to come,” organizer Jax Higginson said, adding that the final total will likely be between £10,000 and £12,000.
Bottoms up…. good luck to all those who are braving the elements this morning and taking part in the North East Skinny Dip to raise money for Mind 🍑 pic.twitter.com/jUMwLChclh— Mind (@MindCharity) 23 сентября 2018 г.
Higginson believes there are different reasons for people to do the skinny dip: while some view it as a wild experience to step out of their comfort zone, others do it to connect with nature or to celebrate life.
Social media users, however, were divided on the annual event, with some praising the organizers and the participants…
What a fabulous event. We faced our fear of the dark, the sea, the waves, the cold, and our own naked and imperfect bodies. We came out of it exhilarated, united and joyful. What’s not to love?— Pat Pendleton (@PatPending2015) 23 сентября 2018 г.
It was fantastic, so liberating but sodding freezing. Definitely doing it next year.— Lisa Goscombe (@ElleGee1980) 24 сентября 2018 г.
The best thing I have ever done 🍑☺️ #northeastskinnydip2018 #druridgebay #mindcharity #hippychick #naked #free #northsea #MentalHealthAwareness #lifecanbegood #weareallthesame pic.twitter.com/ctmNqh605t— Jaspers Daughter (@JaspersDaughtr) 23 сентября 2018 г.
I took part in the North East Skinny Dip this morning along with 600 other people in aid of @MindCharity. I know It was 6 degrees overnight in the campsite, not sure of sea temp. Breathtakingly beautiful experience. Didn’t want to exit! pic.twitter.com/ufrqPLEtsL— #hellomynameisKate (@katy_mama) 23 сентября 2018 г.
…while others were left unimpressed:
All that cellulite in the sea as well as all the plastic. Sea life doesn't stand a chance.— Howard Royston Potts. (@LeastRoad) 23 сентября 2018 г.
Nope, no way, not ever.— Maibritt nielsen (@Mrsshellie1973) 23 сентября 2018 г.
Think my body will murder my mind if I did that
Since 2012, Higginson’s brainchild has raised more than £30,000 for charity, with revelers gathering from 5 a.m. before stripping down and running into the water for sunrise before 7 a.m.
“We always dip close to the Autumn Equinox in order to mark the transition from summer to winter. At NESD 2018, for the first time in our history, we will dip within hours of the exact moment the sun crosses the celestial equator,” Higginson revealed ahead of the event.