CROWDS of socially distanced swimmers braved the icy waters for the annual New Year's Day dip.

Swimmers took the plunge across Cumbria yesterday despite annual fundraising events being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every year groups of people run into the waves at Earnse Bay in Walney while Furness Coastguard stand watch.

Many raise money for charity but some do it as part of their New Year's tradition.

Brave participants at Earnse Bay were not deterred by the 3.8 degree water temperature this year, including Walney shipyard worker, Scott Hartley.

The 38-year-old celebrated both the New Year and his birthday by taking a courageous dip in the Irish Sea.

He said: "I've done it before a couple of years ago and thought it would be a good way to wash away the hangover.

"My wife ended up twisting my arm and persuaded me to do it so I thought I'd give it a go this year.

"There was quite a few people there all socially distanced and taking it in turns to go for a swim.

"It was pretty chilly. I couldn't swim very far before I had to get it out because it was so cold.

"It definitely blew a few cobwebs outs.

"It was only around 3.8 degrees I heard so it was pretty chilly."

Mr Hartley said it was great to see people come together on the Cumbrian coastline after a tumultuous year.

He said: "It was really good to see the amount of people there, last year there was hardly anybody at all.

"It's especially good this year after how a hard a year it's been for everyone."

Morecambe Bay, Windermere, Walney Channel and the Irish Sea have all attracted groups of brave and hardy swimmers on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day through the decades.