Hardy souls from Dumbarton and the Vale joined scores of others – as well as a seal – for a New Year’s Day dip.

More than 200 people braved chilly temperatures, but despite being freezing, there were smiles all round at the annual event at Rhu Marina last week.

Denise Kelly and Rosemary Lowne, from Dumbarton, were amongst those taking part.

Due to the freezing conditions, competitors were warmed up after their swim with a cup of steaming hot soup.

Rosemary told the Reporter: “I absolutely love the New Year’s Day dip. The water is absolutely freezing but it is the most exhilarating way to start the New Year.

“Everyone from the local community comes out to cheer you on, so you feel a great sense of pride when you reach the shore. I would like to say thanks to all the amazing RNLI volunteers who make the event such a fantastic success year after year. I’m still defrosting but I’m already looking forward to next year’s dip.”

Back on shore, competitors were handed a certificate emblazoned the event’s motto “Many are Cauld but Few are Frozen”.

A number of well-wrapped-up spectators cheered the swimmers on from the shore.

A spokesman for RNLI Helensburgh said: “Interestingly, a seal popped up in the course shortly before the start, wondering who was making a fuss in its waters. Our thanks to Rhu Marina and to Fiona Howard and Christine Richardson for helping, and the RNLI fund-raising ladies for providing the hot soup.”