Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WONEWS to 80360, or email
New Year splashdown for 136 Ilkley hardy
Former Ilkley Grammar School pupils Helen Leishman, Charlotte Green, Catherine Sweeney and Anna Lambert were among 136 people who dived into the 7C waters of the White Wells on New Year’s Day
Brave New Year’s Day bathers enjoyed an “invigorating and refreshing” experience in the historic spa of White Wells.
The chilly temperatures of about 7C failed to put off 136 people who enjoyed a plunge into the pool.
Since 1995, people have been queuing up to take a New Year’s Day dip in the 8ft by 6ft stone bath.
People of all ages took part, including Hadrian Branston, 41, from Morley, along with his two daughters and their friend.
Hannah Branston, 11, said: “It was very cold. I did it last year but it is still a shock when you get in.”
Mark Hunnebell, who runs and lives at the White Wells, takes a dip in the spa every day and said it leaves you feeling very fit and healthy. He said the cafe had enjoyed the busiest New Year’s Day ever this year. A group of four friends who all attended Ilkley Grammar School took to the spa for the first time.
Charlotte Green, 28, said: “It seemed like a good idea at the time but it got 2013 off to an invigorating start.
“It was a whole new level of cold but it leaves you feeling refreshed. We might do it again next year.”
White Wells is one of Ilkley’s most well-known landmarks and has been in existence since the 18th century. Ilkley’s moorland spring water is believed to have healing powers and led to the rise of the town as a fashionable Victorian spa destination.
Joe Hepworth, 30, of Ilkley, said: “I come and do it every year. It is really cold, but great fun.”
Rachel McCash, 43, of Ilkley, visited with her family. She said: “It is a cracking start to the New Year, leaving you invigorated for the rest of the day.”