12 Bays of Christmas is back! This fun winter sea swimming challenge will be held again to raise money for Les Bourgs Hospice.
The event was inspired by an idea dreamt up by the Marley and Sealey families who are all keen sea swimmers. The 12 Bays of Christmas challenge encourages islanders to take a dip in 12 bays during the month of December.
Each bay on the list has a festively themed name eg Bordeaux-ho-ho or Chestnuts Rousse-ing on an open fire. Following feedback from swimmers, there are a couple of changes to incorporate Fermain and Rocquaine so the ones chosen should give a variety of options for a sheltered dip in any weather. In keeping with the original 30baysin30days concept, each swimmer will receive a Christmas-themed map that has been kindly illustrated by The Tiny Island Studio.
Participants will also have an option to purchase a woollen bobble hat which will hopefully help people identify others who are taking part in the challenge but most importantly also reduce heat loss when in the sea.
Safety of swimmers is paramount so only those who are medically fit should consider participating in the challenge. In addition, each participant will receive tips and information about how to stay safe during and after a cold-water swim and wearing a wetsuit will be optional. The emphasis is also for people to take part within in their own limitations so there is no target time, distance or number of strokes to swim, or even to complete all bays if conditions are not right to swim.
New for this year is a ’12 Bays Day’ at the Bathing Yules (Pools) when participants can drop-in for their swim and get a free hot drink and mini mince pie and warm up by the stove wood burning stove. Stuart Perfitt of event sponsor, Rocq Capital says: “‘Well done to all those signing up for the ‘12 Bays of Christmas’ which is now a ‘must do’ event for many islanders. It is an heroic effort by all those taking part and Rocq Capital is once again pleased to support this seasonal fundraising for Les Bourgs. We look forward to seeing many of the participants at La Valette on Sunday 11th December for a brew & mince pie’.
Participants can also be in with the chance of winning a £50 voucher for Cobo tearooms if they tag #12baysofchristmas on any social media posts to enter the annual photo competition.
Liz Stonebridge, founder of the 30baysin30days event commented: “It has been brilliant to see such a huge increase in the number of people sea swimming all year round. We know Christmas is a busy time for people but this event offers an opportunity to take some all important time to pause, destress and catch up with friends and family over the festive period. It is a really fun challenge and there is always a great community spirit so please get signed up!”.
Les Bourgs Hospice is independently run so does not receive any funding from the States of Guernsey. Fundraising events like these are therefore very important in helping us meet our annual running costs, which are currently estimated to be £1.6m.
Participants will only be considered as registered for the event if they have signed up via the Les Bourgs hospice website, paid their registration fee and completed the online form that requires confirmation that the full terms and conditions of the event have been understood.