Picture the scene. It’s a January day. Cold. A slight breeze adding an element of wind chill. The sea temperature is between 4 and 7 degrees. And you’ve agreed to go along to Cullercoats for a sea dip experience with CBK Adventures. Curious? Let me tell you more.
Why cold water therapy?
If by now you’re not familiar with cold water dips, sea swims or even cold showers… where have you been? The name Wim Hof might spring to mind too. Speaking of him, I did a Wim Hof cold water experience back last year which might be an interesting read…
Spending time in blue spaces has been scientifically proven to improve wellbeing – both mentally and physically – lifting your mood and reducing inflammation. So where better to spend some time than the North Sea, in January?!
CBK Adventures are an award winning North East based company that offer water based experiences and activities. Chances are if you’ve driven along the North Tyneside coast you’ll have passed their shop/cafe in Cullercoats, or inadvertently you’ll have seen their activities taking place with people paddleboarding or kayaking on their tours. You’ll be in knowledgeable, safe hands on any of their activities and I immediately felt at ease with the team supporting our Ice Dip Social experience.
Anyway, let’s talk about the experience I was there to take part in, on a relatively cold January day.
Ice Dip Social – what’s it all about?
We were welcomed to the Ice Dip Social experience with a quick tour around the main areas for the day – the Finnish army tent, the beach sauna, the sea – well, didn’t really need much of an introduction – plus the bbq area where lunch would be prepped. Once we were all acquainted we were offered hot drinks and told to get cosy in the 10 person Finnish army tent. The tent is designed to stay warm in the most extreme arctic conditions – so the North East coast is probably quite mild by comparison. Let me tell you, the log burning stove kept it very cosy and I was more than happy to try and get ‘as warm as possible’ before we changed into wetsuits!
The idea was that we’d complete rounds of cold water immersion in the sea followed by time in the sauna.
Swimming in the North Sea… in winter!?
With wetsuits on – plus neoprene gloves and shoes (did I mention the sea is cold in January?) we made our way to the sea. This first dip was actually really pleasant. I even did a tiny, tiny swim. Though the 5mm wetsuit was entirely why! Only when a little bit of water splashed down the back of my neck, did I then realise how cold it might be without the extra layer! After about 5 minutes we were called to get back on dry land and complete our first round with the sauna. Oh how toasty warm the sauna was. Glorious.
Progressing through the rounds, we were encouraged to lower our wetsuits and to ease our way into a full ice dip – going in the sea in our swimwear. I’m pleased to confirm I did manage this – but was it 5 minutes? No, not even close. However, I did feel truly invigorated afterwards. So much so, I went for 5-10 minutes in the sauna then for one final dip.
After the final sea dip and sauna, I changed into some warm layers and settled for some lunch. Burgers were on the menu, cooked over the bbq on the beach. Dietary requirements can be catered for – so my ask for a veggie burger was no big deal at all. The CBK Adventures team use local suppliers for everything from the burgers to tea/coffee which is a nice touch.
The whole experience was very encouraging and well paced. There was no rush to run into the sea and get your shoulders under or go straight into a swim. Take your time, walk in, deep breaths, settle and focus on the exhale. Of course they’ll tailor it to suit the group and take into account any concerns or health conditions too. I’d really recommend the Ice Dip Social as an introduction to cold water therapy.
How do I take part?
The Ice Dip Social takes place as a small group – so you could book with friends for something a little different to do. Alternatively you can book individual spaces if it’s something you want to try but none of your friends are keen. Don’t let that put you off! Take a look at the website for more details and availability.
If you’re already a sea dip fan, then you could hire the beach sauna for a Finnish twist on your experience. It’s available in 30 minute slots and the details are on their website. I’m considering this with some friends as a fun way to get them along to do a sea dip with me.
Would you go for a sea dip?
PR Invite – I was invited along for this experience and really loved it, as you can see from this article.