Chatter speaks to Liz Fry
Liz explains that she is now in her second year of sea swimming. She grew up by the coast and absolutely can’t imagine living anywhere that’s not within walking distance of the sea. She lives with her two children, husband Robin and beautiful black Labrador – Chester, who is her utterly adored and loyal companion. She works with volunteers who provide peer support to new parents in weekly group settings.
How it all started…
It was Summer 2021 and Liz’s daughter wanted her to go in the sea at Whitley Bay beach. She explains that she I had avoided it as she ‘wouldn’t be seen dead in a swimming costume’ but then thought ‘what the hell!’ so she went in one evening with her.
She describes it as the most wonderful experience as the sun was just setting and they had so much fun.
She says, “My neighbour did the Chatter Challenge the previous year and I remembered seeing her photos and posts on Facebook, thinking how amazingly brave she was. I contacted her and she told me how much I would love it so I signed up and have never looked back since.”
Mental Health Benefits
Liz states, “I really struggle with my mental health sometimes and when I go in the sea I feel absolutely exhilarated. I do love to go in on my own most of the time as it gives me the head space that I need. When I lay there with my head on my tow float staring out to the horizon, I feel like I’m the only person there. It feels completely empowering. I love the feeling of coming out of the water and getting changed quickly into cosy warm clothes. I then sit mindfully watching the sea with a hot drink. There’s no better place to be.”
Liz continued, “I like to go a couple of times a week but when I’m doing the challenge I do more. Most of the time I go on my own. I swim at Cullercoats, North Tyneside and there are always other swimmers about so I’ve never not felt safe. Sometimes, I meet some of the other members of the Chatter Tribe at King Edwards Bay.
She adds, “I’ve always felt so welcome and it’s lovely to be part of the group sometimes and share the passion and craziness. I always come away with a smile on my face.”
Morning swims – not a chance!
Liz laughs, “I’m absolutely not a morning person but I do drag myself out of bed early sometimes. We have the most amazing sunrises along our coast and I always feel like I’m missing out if I don’t get my lazy arse up.
I do love an evening swim though. Lunch time is lovely as it’s really quiet. When I’m totally in the zone and my cold water addiction has grabbed ahold, I’ll go morning and night. Oh yes, the full moon dips are like nothing else….absolutely magical.Liz Fry
Evening dip and Cullercoats
How did you get into the Chatter Challenge?
Liz enthuses that her friend did it in the first year (2020/21) and she loved to see all of her photos. Her friend got so much out of it, talking about it with so much passion that it made her feel like she really wanted to be part of it. Thankfully she states, “I have absolutely no regrets.”
Phew, what a relief, we all cry! I guess the fact that she is into her second year of this wonderful winter swim challenge is testament to that.
So what is it?
Liz ponders and says, “I just love feeling part of a group who all have the same mindset with regards to being in cold, open water. Everyone feels the same buzz and benefits.
“The camaraderie is amazing and I feel like I’ve met so many amazing people. There’s no judgement from anyone and everyone is so supportive.
“When I do go in with some of the tribe it is so much fun and I’ve even been introduced to bodyboarding which I never thought I’d be doing that at 46 but it’s hilarious. Because of all the support I’ve also lost my inhibitions of being in a swimming costume. I actually feel really proud of what I’m doing!”
Liz stated that she had signed up for the Mixed Bag subscription.
She confirms that when the 2021/22 challenge finished in March 2022, she started having cold showers. She absolutely loves them. She says that they are addictive too and were her salvation on hot days this summer. She also adds that when she is having hot menopausal flushes, whilst nothing beats the sea cold showers do come a close second.
Jaw dropping moment
Liz continues, “My daughter surfs so she has been in with me a few times. My mam went in once up to her knees. I remember being in a beach hut in Saltburn with my cousin who was home from Germany in February 2021. She was dressed like she was in Antarctica and I walked out in my costume. I told her that I was just going for a dip. One of the funniest things ever. I’ll never forget the look on her face!”
We had a raffle during the 2021/22 challenge. Liz won the GIL change robe which was supplied by Rob Storrar from Storrar Marine, Newcastle upon Tyne.
She says, “I was completely shocked and over the moon at the same time. It was so lovely when Jacqui brought it round for me.
I feel like Joseph in his technicolor dream coat with it on. There’s so many common change robes out there but so far I’ve never seen anyone with a Gil robe on. It’s so warm and toasty.
She continues, “I remember last year feeling like Christmas had come when I received my Chatter Challenge merchandise in the post.
“I really hadn’t expected there to be so much lovely quality stuff in there. I wore my bobble hat with immense pride everywhere I went last winter and totally loved it when I saw other people with them on (like we were in a secret club). They are lush! This year’s merch is just as good and I am looking forward to wearing it with pride”
A personal challenge
Liz loves that we support the RNLI and Sea Shepherd UK. She states that the Chatter Challenge is something she does for herself as she donates money each month to several charities.
I want to just keep this as my challenge without any pressure. I love it.Liz Fry
Still time to sign up
Extra merchandise was ordered so there is no problem in signing up for the 2022/23 Challenge (only 15 places left). The dip log and Chatter Tribe keep you focussed and motivated.
If you haven’t already, join the Chatter Challenge today.
Thank you Liz – great story!