Give It A Go: We Went Cold Swimming For The First Time

Give It A Go: We Went Cold Swimming For The First Time

Join me and Murphy from the Nine to Alive team as we joined the @sheffielddippers for a cold hangover cure.

When you hear the words cold water, outdoor or wild swimming you normally envisage some oddball waking up at the crack of dawn with the potential of hypothermia. We learnt it could not be further from the truth. 

My routine Saturday morning at university tends to be rotting away in an alcohol-infused slump from the previous night; slamming shots, boozing and boogying.

For a mindful change to my Saturday’s, I decided to join Murphy and the Sheffield Dippers in Rivelin Valley for a 7:30am start.

In preparation for our cold water excursion, I contacted the owners Josh and Tom to see what we had signed up for. In their Instagram bio, they state ‘men looking after men’ a concept rather unfamiliar in the current social climate. It certainly intrigued me to meet them and discover not only the health benefits, but the social atmosphere too.

As university students at Sheffield we often take for granted the incredible Peak District sights that we have on our doorstep, with Rivelin Valley only a ten minute drive from my house.

The privilege was not helped by the eight degree temperature that morning which did not offer us any sympathy for our first ever cold water immersion.

As if we were on the sunny sands of Spain, we stripped down to our swimming trunks and joined the cold water veterans in the river.


Join Huw and Murphy as they join the Sheffield Dippers in Rivelin Valley! If you are in Sheffield area join the dippers on a Saturday morning and seize the day! 🌅 #outdoors #coldwatertherapy #city

♬ original sound – Nine To Alive
As we arrived for the dip, there was perhaps a warning of what was to come.

Nothing can prepare you for the extreme drop in your body temperature. Even Josh later admitted he sometimes ‘bottles’ the immersion due to the cold water shock and fear of going in the water.

The next ten minutes were intense, a method of breathing deeply and with control carried us through the experience. A useful distraction was chatting to those around you whether it was football, rugby or the local area, it was

Post-dip, I had the pleasure of talking to Tom and Josh, the two founders. We explored the origins of social media and their own relationship with cold water immersion and the outdoors.

Their story was humble, two grafters that spend their weeks installing guttering across Sheffield, jumping at the first opportunity to go outdoors after the nine to five or on the weekend, perhaps an attitude we can all learn from.

Murphy Walton accompanied me on the trip to Rivelin Valley.

“Cold water swimming is an experience I would recommend to anyone. Doing it safely and properly is a great way to introduce yourself into the hobby, before taking on bigger challeneges,” he said.

“You don’t always have to be in the mood for it but I promise you afterwards you’ll feel on top of the world”.

Our top tips for your first dip:

  1. Go with a friend. – Not only is a friend or partner good for confidence (getting into the water) but also to support you socially in a new environment too.
  2. Bring the correct equipment. – We were certainly underprepared, most of the dippers came with an arsenal of dry robes, towels and jogging bottoms whereas I came without a change of socks.
  3. Speak to everyone there. – All of the dippers were incredibly welcoming and kind.

Want to Tell your Story?

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