New Year's Day in Peel
The morning of the 1st January 2010 appeared bright and very very crisp. There had been a hard frost with temperatures dropping to minus 3 over night. But, there was a cycle ride to do on New Year's Day.
The day was too sunny to miss a cycle run and the wind had dropped. The mountain bike girls were meeting in Ramsey for a mtb ride in the North of the island, but as my mtb is still in the shed with seized brakes, I was unable to make their ride sadly. But, as I am very used to entertaining myself when it comes to cycling, New Year was to be no exception. Besides, in Peel on New Year's Day there is entertainment to be had in the shape of the Peel Bay New Year Dip to raise funds for the RNLI on the Island.
The RNLI started out its origins on the island, and it is heavily supported here, as it is by many fishing ports and maritime villages throughout England, Scotland and Wales of course.
I awoke later than I expected to, and it seemed to take ages to get into the layers and layers of cycle kit one needs during this time of year. I set off, and cycled very gingerly towards Peel. Peel is about 16 miles from home taking the main routes, which were the well gritted roads, so instead of the long way round, ie the more pleasant and scenic route to ride on a bike, I instead took the busy direct route.
Unfortunately so did everyone else, and once I reached St John's it was a case of all roads lead to Peel regarding traffic, and as the sun had not reached my side of the road, I ended up cycling on the icy bits of it, with the fast cars not leaving me much room. I was very lucky though, although I did not enjoy this part of the ride, I stayed on and upright on the bike, and didn't fall.
Peel was bedlum! Cars everywhere, parked anywhere and what seemed like most of the island had turned out on this really cold day, to watch others do even colder things. The Peel Dip has become a bit of a regular charity event on the island and gets a lot of support from the locals.
Most of the dippers were in fancy dress, and the RNLI boat was of course close to shore incase of any drownings or other such catastrophies. It was freezing cold. Im afraid, I was somewhat far back from the front of the crowd so missed many of the dippers, but hopefully some of these pics give you an idea of the carnival atmosphere of the day..
I had just cycled 15 miles, and I managed to arrive 10 minutes before the plunge, so you would think my warmth would of held out, but standing with the other locals, my teeth were soon chattering, and my feet were slowly losing their connection with the nerves in my legs and going numb. Just talking to those around me was difficult as my face was so cold, so what this lot must of felt like.... Boy what a way to raise money.
The plunge took place at noon sharp with the RNLI boat sending off a flare, soon the beach was full of screaming, running, strangely dressed, slightly mad individuals who had yet to meet such a cold start to their New Year.
It didnt take long.... Soon wet bedraggled folk were getting wrapped in blankets as they emerged purple and blue from the icy Irish Sea. A few fools took the opportunity for a bit of a swim, but even they emerged in a short space of time. Bodies shrivelled and in several shades of megenta and pink on bare tortured arms and legs stinging from the icy waters.
The beach started to empty out as fast as it had earlier filled.
Picture looking towards Peel from the Castle, weather starting to think about spoiling the day...
I took the bike round to the Castle to take a few shots of the bay looking over the town of Peel, and took these pictures of the RNLI lads bringing into shore their seaworthy mount for the day. I didn't want to cycle home immediately to let the traffic find its way out of the town first.
I finished my coffee and the last of the Christmas biscuits on Fenella Beach before setting off for home. I was so cold by this time that getting my camera closed and packed on the bike was very difficult, but once the legs were turning, and life returned to my feet I was soon pedalin' homeward and looking forward to a glowing fire in the front room and a hot coffee.
Happy New Year to everyone, to one and to all, here is hoping your health remains strong, and that your legs are spent cycling and turning those pedals for 2010!