WHAT will you be doing at 12 noon on January 1?

Some may be curled up in front of the telly watching a Ne’erday film; others might be sleeping off the excesses of Hogmanay; but at Rhu Marina, hundreds of people from Helensburgh and Lomond and even further afield will be gathering for the traditional New Year swim.

The chilly waters of the Gareloch prove an unmissable attraction for hundreds of madcap festive folk every New Year’s Day – and January 1, 2020 looks like being no exception.

The swim is organised under the auspices of the RNLI and as usual the Rhu based lifeboat crew will be on hand both in and out of the water to ensure that when the hooter goes at noon all the hardy swimmers will be cold and wet but very safe.

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If you are planning to come along please note that this year, for the first time, children under the age of eight will not be allowed to take part in the swim or to join swimmers on the pontoon.

Various information and safety signs will be provided at the access to the pontoons and all participants or group leaders must read and understand the signs before taking part.

It is recommended that swimmers do not walk to the pontoon barefoot but either wear shoes which can be handed to a friend or light footwear that can be safely worn in the water.

The RNLI team of volunteers will be on duty in the boat shed to provide hot soup for the swimmers when they return to shore and every swimmer will be given the certificate with its motto “Many are Cauld but Few are Frozen” which is provided every year by Donald Fullarton.

READ MORE: Pictures from Helensburgh's 2019 New Year Swim

All participants will be required to complete an indemnity form to be able to take part. You can either complete one on the day itself or, to save time, print off the form in the picture gallery at the top of this story, fill it in and take it along with you on the day of the event.

The New Year Swim has been part of the annual calendar in Helensburgh for nearly 100 years and originally took place at Helensburgh Pier but when its survival was threatened by health and safety issues at the pier the swim was moved to Rhu Marina.

One of the best known swimmers was John McFall, then MP for the Dunbartonshire constituency, who accepted an invitation to come along and meet his “floating voters”.

And, while there is no entry fee, over the years the swim and the swimmers have raised large sums of money for a wide variety of charities and every year there is a collection taken for the RNLI.

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