In Pictures: From Scotland to Hampshire it's a chilly start for New Year swimmers

Revellers have braved the cold seas for a New Year's Day dip to raise money for an independent lifeboat charity.

A total of 384 bathers signed up to take part in the charity swim in the Solent at Stokes Bay, Gosport, Hampshire, which raises about £4,000 each year for the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Gafirs).

New Year's Day swim, Gosport
384 bathers signed up for the charity swim in the Solent at Stokes Bay, Gosport (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Swimmers prepare to take to the Solent
Swimmers prepare to take to the Solent (Andrew Matthews/PA)

New Year's Day swim, Gosport
Swimmers were raising money for the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Fundraising officer James Baggott said: "It's one of those strange, local traditions where people in the local area decide to take a dip in the Solent - but it's a great way for us of raising funds and showing the local community that we are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on duty to save lives.

"We are not part of the RNLI so events like this are really important for us to raise money.

"There was a bit of a rush last night with people signing up, as people had a bit of Dutch courage and were encouraged by their friends to join in."

Barry Island New Year Day Swim
Swimmers run into in the sea at the Barry Island New Year Day Swim at Whitmore Bay, in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales (Ben Birchall/PA)

Barry Island New Year Day Swim
Swimmers wait nervously at the shoreline as they prepare for a dip in the sea at the Barry Island New Year Day Swim (Ben Birchall/PA)

Spider senses tingling... Spiderman runs into in the sea at Barry Island (Ben  Birchall/PA)
Spider senses tingling... Spiderman runs into in the sea at Barry Island (Ben Birchall/PA)

He added: "There is quite a lot of bravado with people encouraging each other to go in - but when they do, they realise how cold the water is. It's quite a shock, so people don't spend very long in the water.

"It's more of a New Year's paddle than a swim."

Loony Dook swim
More than 1,000 people took part in the annual Loony Dook swim in Firth of Forth, Scotland (David Cheskin/PA)

Loony Dook swim
The sell-out event began with a parade along the town's High Street (David Cheskin/PA)

Loony Dook swim
Fancy dress was the order of the day for the chilly start to 2018 (David Cheskin/PA)

Participant Jade Slater, 21, a student nurse, said: "I always take part, it's a bit crazy but it's great fun and a great way to start the new year and to raise money for charity as well."

The Gafirs independent lifeboat station is run by 90 volunteers who last year gave 12,000 hours of their time to the service.

Swimmers take past in the New Year's Day dip in the sea at Whitley Bay ( Owen Humphreys/PA)
Swimmers take part in the New Year's Day dip in the sea at Whitley Bay (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Whitley Bay swim
Revellers in fancy dress brave the North Sea off the North East coast (Owen Humphreys/PA)

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