A statement from Sian Richardson, founder of the Bluetits
"I have been swimming at Porthsele beach under the cliffs on my farm which overlooks Whitesands Bay for over 5o years. Up until 2014 I had never dipped in the sea over the winter months. I decided to take the plunge in October that year because I had heard of a challenge called the Ice Mile, and it sounded like the kind of extreme challenge that appealed to me.
I began dipping, first on Porthsele, and then all over Pembrokeshire. People were intrigued by what we are doing, some were horrified, some vaguely interested, some interested enough to join us. My husband noticed how happy we all were when we came out of the water and suggested we call ourselves something. So The Bluetits Chill Swimmers took flight.
Over the summer months of 2015 some people who came to my campsite at Pencarnan and heard about The Bluetits and asked if they could start up a group in their home area, and so we began to spread far and wide, first in Wales, then the rest of the UK then overseas. My Ice Mile training was pretty much a solitary affair with just me in the water and my small team of helpers around me for safety support, and I enjoyed this, I had never really been swimming with groups of people so I didn’t really know any different. Swimming with the newly formed Bluetits was the complete opposite of course, and initially I wasn’t aware of any benefits to this. As the years passed by, the extreme ice mile completed and no more solitary training to endure, I totally immersed myself in group swimming with the many people in Pembrokeshire who were now swimming under The Bluetits banner.
With no plan, time limits or expectations from my dips I began to appreciate the benefits of meeting up with likeminded humans. We laughed, cried, ate cake, drank warm coffee after the swims whilst warming up on a beach, walked home, made friends, went shopping in our changing robes and generally became comrades in and around the cold water. The bond created between humans who are challenging themselves to do something that scares them a little is immeasurable.
I am always asked what is it about cold water that is life changing. The cold water is the anchor that holds us all together and going into it provides the adrenalin rush that in turn allows us to free our minds of all the crap that is in our heads for a short moment in time, but enough time to allow you to see the world with different eyes. For that moment in time all your worries and fears get pushed to the back of your mind. You notice the wonderful landscape around you, laugh with the person next to you about something that is momentarily very funny, hold your hand out for someone who is nervous, rejoice in the fact the body you have can do this.
Pembrokeshire has always been my favourite place in the world. I have worked here used its glorious landscape as a playground all my life. I no longer look at the winter months as a time when I retreat from the world. I now look forward to it as a time when I meet up with all the friends I have made through The Bluetits and experience more adventures in the water with them all.
It means the world to me that The Bluetits are going to be part of the DaffyDips4Dewi event. We began with two people dipping on a Pembrokeshire beach and we became 100,000 people dipping on beaches, in rivers and lakes all over the world. I hope to see pictures of thousands of daffodil hats bobbing in the water on Sunday February the 26th this year in celebration of Saint David – our very own local saintly ‘waterman’. If you want to find out more about us – then check out our website here: https://thebluetits.co/ "