Swimmers and sledders defy wet and chilly Boxing Day weather

Boxing Day swimmers braved the cold weather to take their traditional dip after parts of England and Scotland woke up to snow on Sunday.

Wintry weather that was forecast to produce blizzard-like conditions across the English-Scottish border gave way to rain, and the Environment Agency put flood warnings in place in North Yorkshire and Devon.

Families in Tow Law, County Durham, were among those who went sledging as the area was blanketed in snow. Across the United Kingdom snow fell overnight, with the highest parts of Scotland blanketed with a couple of centimetres and parts of the north of England seeing as much as 5cm at its peaks. On Saturday it had been a white Christmas for parts of the UK as people in Shetland and eastern Scotland woke up to snow.

Adults pull children on sledges
People pull children through the snow on sledges in Tow Law, County Durham. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA
A woman rides a horse through the snow near Castleside, County Durham
A woman rides a horse through the snow near Castleside, County Durham. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

Swimmers at Ayr beach took part in a charity swim for Ayrshire Cancer Support on Boxing Day.

And in Redcar, bathers braved the cold waters of the North Sea as they took part in their annual swim. The event attracts hundreds of people each year, some wearing fancy dress, as they help to raise money for a number of charities.

Ayrshire’s Boxing Day dip
Ayrshire’s Boxing Day dip. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Making a splash at Redcar beach
Making a splash at Redcar beach. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Southern England experienced less dramatic weather, with people strolling along the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park on a wet and dreary Boxing Day.

The Met Office forecast cloudy weather with outbreaks of rain and drizzle across northern and eastern areas of the UK towards the end of Boxing Day. It said this would ease and be followed by a “good deal of low cloud with some fog patches developing”. It said there was a risk of frost in some western parts of the UK and further rain in the south-west later. The rain in the north was likely to clear on Monday.

A grey Windsor on Boxing Day
A grey Windsor on Boxing Day. Photograph: Geoffrey Swaine/Rex/Shutterstock

The Environment Agency issued a flood warning for the North Sea at Scarborough Sandside on Sunday. “Overtopping waves and spray are expected as a result of strong onshore winds” on Sunday evening, it said. “Please be careful along beaches, coastal and estuary footpaths and roads in the area, as large waves and sea spray can be dangerous with debris.”

In another flood warning, it said river levels remained high near Exeter after heavy rain on Christmas Day.

A Met Office yellow warning was initially expanded to include an area from the Scottish borders to Derbyshire, as well as farther east over Durham and Northumberland, due to an increased chance of snow accumulating over the southern Pennines overnight. A second was in place for a smaller area north of Glasgow and across the Forth valley. These were removed later in the day.

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