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Cheeky Canberrans disrobe and jump in the lake to mark winter solstice

By Hannah Walmsley and Michael Black, Friday June 22, 2018 - 07:57 EST
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Participants of the winter solstice nude charity swim braved a bitterly cold Canberra morning. - ABC

It's the shortest day of the year, so why not take off all of your clothes and plunge into the freezing lake to celebrate?

That's what a brave group of Canberrans did early on Thursday morning to mark the winter solstice and raise money for charity.

Participants were treated to a bagpipe anthem before disrobing and diving into the lake for their early morning swim.

One swimmer, Alex, said she couldn't think of a good reason to not take the plunge.

"It's always good to support a great charity, so why wouldn't you?"

Funds raised from event participation will be donated to charities Love Your Sister and Lifeline.

"Everyone is here for the same reason, so I guess there's no reason to look, is there," Alex said.

"It's too cold to check anyone out.

"Afterwards I felt liberated and invigorated — you know you're alive."

For event organiser Ian Lindeman, the fundraising effort will honour his son who died by suicide earlier this year.

"This means a bit more to me now," Mr Lindeman said.

He said he hoped the event in its absurdity would continue to grow each year.

Another swimmer Daniel participated in a similar event in Hobart five years ago.

"I predict that over the years the numbers here are just going to get bigger and bigger.

"I saw that in Hobart where it went from 200 people to 1,200 in just a few years.

"This is definitely colder here — I reckon it was about six or seven degrees in [the lake].

"It's such a hilarious activity to do and I reckon it's the absurdity of it which attracts people."

Longer days ahead

Solar Council of Australia executive John Grimes explained that the winter solstice delivered the shortest day of the year.

"This is the low point in sunlight hour availability, but from here the days will grow proportionally," he said.

"From today on, our daylight hours start to lengthen slightly every day."

The winter solstice in Australia is the day in the cycle in the movement of Earth around the Sun where there is peak sun at the tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere.

"As the Earth continues on its journey around the Sun, in exactly six months' time we'll experience the exact opposite," Mr Grimes said.

"That means that today the Northern Hemisphere is getting the most sun that it will at any point through the whole cycle."


© ABC 2018

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