A group of Bluetits Chill Swimmers took a dip in the sea with the Icelandic President on a recent trip to Iceland as part of a new Bluetits offering of swimming-based holidays.
The Bluetits Chill Swimmers is an international cold water swimming movement with over 100,000 members worldwide, and their recent trip connected Bluetits from West Wales, where the movement was founded, with members of the Reykjavik Bluetits Chill Swimmers.
As part of the trip the Bluetits met with president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson at Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach, Reykavik.
Bluetits founder Sian Richardson, who accidentally founded The Bluetits in 2014 when she took up a cold-water swimming challenge at her local beach in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, said she was delighted to have met the president.
“I loved how everyone addressed him by his first name, and that he's a swimmer,” she said. “He lives just across the bay from Reykjavik and so sometimes the Reykjavik Bluetits swim to his house - he swims out to meet them and he lets them use his hot tub to warm up. I like the lack of pomp in Iceland: there’s no ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ at all and everyone is equal. I can’t imagine Rishi Sunak turning up to swim with the Bluetits without an entourage of photo photographers and security!”
During their trip the visiting Bluetits swam in geothermal pools, including the famous Blue Lagoon, visited traditional Icelandic lidos, swam in the sea and even donned wetsuits to swim in the 2 degrees centigrade waters between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia.
“They have quite a lot of swimming groups in Iceland - it isn’t new and unusual for people to swim throughout the winter there,” said Sian. “There are some real hardcore swimmers in the Reykjavik Bluetits who are ice swimmers and Channel swimmers, but essentially they are just people who enjoy dipping on a daily basis. Kath Davidsdottir, the manager at the Naultholsvik geothermal beach, is the admin of Reykjavik Bluetits and made sure we had lots of Reykjavik Bluetits there to welcome us.”
Despite the popularity of swimming in Iceland, the Bluetits’ antics did garner some interest.
“An Icelandic newspaper turned up to do an interview with us because they were so intrigued by what we were doing,” says Sian. “Even though they are used to swimming in the lidos in the in winter, they're not necessarily used to swimming in the sea, so they found it quite unusual to see 20 of us screaming towards the sea!”
The trip was one of a new offering of Bluetits Holidays, arranged in collaboration with The Different Travel Company. You can book a place on next year’s trip here.
“We’re delighted with how the trip went,” said Sian. “There’s a real appetite for outdoor swimming now, and being a Bluetit provides camaraderie, friendship and safety when you’re in the water. For years Bluetits have been hooking up with local Bluetits groups on their travels, but it’s amazing to now be able to offer Bluetits holidays that take people swimming in some of the most amazing waters in the world.”