The Great British Skinny Dip returns for sixth year

Keen open-water swimmer and British Naturism member Dugie Eyton-Hughes on everything you need to know about this year's Great British Skinny Dip

The white sand burned our feet as we made our way across Morfa Dyffryn beach in North Wales. Under a bright blue July sky, we joined other naturists walking or dashing into the sea. The tide was out and the water was bathtub-warm in places, icy in others. We all sat, floated or stood in the water, chatting amiably and laughing at the huge flamingo float accompanying us. My partner and I were taking part in our first British Naturism Great British Skinny Dip, and it was grand.

About the Great British Skinny Dip

The Great British Skinny Dip (GBSD) is in the sixth year of its current incarnation. Its aim, according to British Naturism, is to encourage acceptance and participation in naturism across the nation and beyond, promote better understanding of naturism and social nudity, and spread the word about the benefits of nakedness. This year, it’s also raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

Despite the uncertainties of the pandemic, and the none-too-brilliant summer weather, over 20 skinny dips have been scheduled across the UK (including one on Guernsey in the Channel Islands) from June to mid-September. With interest in the event growing, several venues which had never hosted dips stepped up to the plate, some arranging a second dip after the success of the first one!

Being Naked is Good for You!

“The human body was not designed to be wrapped up in clothes and there are numerous health benefits associated with clothes-free activities,” says BN.

Many articles, including in Outdoor Swimmer, point to the significant benefits nudity brings to mental, emotional and physical health as well as to body image issues. Going naked allows us to relax and forget about worries and stress. In fact, naturism has a lot in common with swimming: It gets us outdoors (weather permitting!), gives us something to think about besides ourselves, and is a great way to meet people with similar interests. No wonder there’s so much interest in wild and open-water swimming, and, at the same time, growing enthusiasm for skinny-dipping.

For me, there is something magical about swimming naked. Somehow the silky waters of a lake or quarry feel even softer. Your body, freed from the confines of fabric, feels natural. And once on dry land, there’s no need to struggle with a wet swimming costume.

Add to this the fact that “social nudity” is on the increase as people become less hung up about seeing naked bodies and being seen in the buff by others. Personal experience tells me that any qualms about being naked around others quickly evaporate as we get caught up in the pleasure of meeting and talking with them, and in taking part in activities such as nude swimming.

The freedom that comes from nudity is important for all of us but particularly for us women, most of whom struggle with body image issues. Being naked in the company of others helps the perception of what is a healthy body. It’s okay to have wobbly bits and be different from most “celebrity” bodies. One truly encouraging sight for me at Morfa Dyffryn was the sight of so many women on the beach. They may not have participated in the skinny dip, but they were clearly enjoying the naturist scene.

What, me?

You might be reading and thinking… nope, not for me. But consider it for a moment. It could be a step towards doing something that could change your whole life. You’re a swimmer, someone who likes being outdoors and challenging yourself physically. Nude swimming could be a positive move towards creating a better relationship – with your body. It could help you feel happier in your own skin, knowing that you can strip down and no-one will judge you. What could be more natural?

Which takes me back to the GBSD.

There are dips taking place around the country in coming weeks. Check out the Great British Skinny Dip website for venues and give it a try. You have nothing to lose but your clothes!

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.