North Sea dip is a ‘nice way to wake up’


The haagdyve swimmers race into the sea on New Year's Day.
The haagdyve swimmers race into the sea on New Year’s Day.

Eleven intrepid swimmers took part in the annual new year dip in the sea at Mavis Grind.

The swimmers in the “haagdyve” first entered the water at 1pm on the shallower Atlantic side of Mavis Grind, staying in for two to three minutes, and then braved the “substantially colder” North Sea on the other side. Organiser Alan Price from Brae said this year’s had been one of the best ever, thanks to good weather.

He said: “It was brilliant, with a good turnout. The weather was dry while we were there, we were lucky. I was very pleased, everyone enjoyed themselves. It was a nice way to wake up after New Year.”

Mr Price said there have been up to 20 haagdyvers some years, depending on the weather, and wetsuits could be worn if desired.

He stressed that it is an “all-weather” event, and is never cancelled.

The “haagdyve” is apparently a tradition dating back to Viking times. It was resurrected more than 25 years ago in Unst, and has been taking place at Mavis Grind for around a decade.

Mr Price said the event originated when the Vikings recruited Welsh mercanaries from Pembrokeshire and brought them to Shetland. The dip into the chilly waters was thought to be a cleansing ritual.

Enjoying some pre-swim refreshments at Mavis Grind.
Enjoying some pre-swim refreshments at Mavis Grind.


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