Thousands of naked swimmers run into icy water in chilling mass skinny dip

Nude swimmers shed their inhibitions to run into chilly waters in a return of the Dark Mofo Nude Solstice Swim – to mark the shortest day of the year down under.

Around 1,500 plucky adults took the chance for the mass skinny dip at Sandy Bay, Tasmania and many could be heard 'screaming' as the air temp was a bone chilling 3 degrees.

Tribal drums could be heard and red smoke flares were released into the night's sky as participants lined up in their winter coats before stripping off naked – except for their red swimming caps.

A countdown marked a 'towel drop' before the sea of people descended into the chilly waters.

The event had a reduced capacity of 1,500 to allow for social distancing and free tickets were snapped up ahead of the big day within minutes.

“This is the first time we’ve done it,” said Brady, 31, who hails from Brisbane told The Guardian.

“It was great to see how many people there were. When you get in, you just run in screaming. You can’t really feel it until it’s too late.

“The skin starts to sting. (And) it does shrink.”

Speaking to ABC News, Portia Predny, from Sydney added: ‘I was pretty keen from the start, as soon as I knew it was a thing.

‘It was fabulous … You don’t even notice the cold so much, you just notice that it’s bracing and exhilarating and adrenaline-inducing, and you just need to move as fast as possible.’

Another reveller from the mainland described the experience as a ‘baptism of freezing fire’.

And while here in the UK, rituals were being held on Monday to mark the longest day, the tilt on the earth's axis meant it was the shortest day of the year down under.

Sangitha, 28, said: “We were here and I thought it’s probably a thing we’d never do again. No regrets."

Many Tasmanians flock to the Dark Mofo music and arts festival which celebrates the darkness of the southern hemisphere’s midwinter.

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