A new and wonderful dimension has been added to our winter swimming with the arrival of the long awaited HOT TUB! This astonishing contraption was conceived, designed and built by Duggie and is a MASTERPIECE – a hot tub with integral cooking area which can be moved to different locations, even towed behind a boat and can accommodate up to 6 people! Duggie forged the hot tub from steel, cut it, welded it, galvanised it, fitted wheels, constructed a chimney, a cooking area, a firebox, seating, wooden flooring and lid and equipped it with a long hose for filling and a paddle for stirring the water. It has been a monumental task for Duggie and he has accomplished it with his legendary fanatical energy.
And so the day dawned for the inaugural firing; a superb day – calm and warm. Much hard work was done by Fraser and Duggie who manhandled the tub down to the sea, positioned it, filled it from the burn and stocked up with wood. Firing commenced at 9am sharp: at this point the water was only 7 degrees and no-one knew how long it would take to heat. The swimmers were invited for 3pm. The water warmed very slowly as the wood was wet. Panic set in. Iona arrived with coal. This was shovelled in. The fire took off; the temperature rose. Sweating workers (Iona and Lottie) stirred the cauldron. Duggie and Fraser toiled at the coal face. Still we were a long way off target (though no-one even knew what the target was in terms of centigrade; it turned out to be 42 degrees).
Time passed, smoke rose, sweat rolled, people got very dirty. Slowly, the water warmed. Swimmers began to arrive, bringing food and wood. The fire was roaring, the temperature at last beginning to soar. Finally, after 5 hours, we reached what seemed like a good temperature and everyone (except Duggie who remained in a supervisory capacity) stripped off and plunged into the sea. Most of us swam for a good 20 minutes, secure in the knowledge that afterdrop wasn’t going to be a problem, and the hot tub was waiting with its balmy waters. BUT DISASTER STRUCK – the tub was TOO HOT!!! We couldn’t get in. We tried tipping in buckets of cold water, but to no avail. We started to get cold. Then Duggie came to the rescue with a little plastic dingy he found on the beach. He dragged it along and we filled it with hot water from the tub. It cooled enough to enable us to jump in and luxuriate – BLISS!!! We stuck the hose into the tub and the icy water from the burn soon cooled it down. At last we were able to enter the tub. It was like being BOILED ALIVE! After a few minutes most people returned to the sea and there was a steady procession of bright pink people, with steam rising off them, tottering down to the sea and freezing pink people struggling back to the hot tub. Cider flowed, sausages sizzled, laughter and screams of delight drifted across the bay. Occasionally a curious and unsuspecting spectator walked past, staring in disbelief at this odd spectacle. For Duggie it was a BRILLIANT SUCCESS and he was roundly congratulated by all. Duggie himself was still dreaming happily in the tub at 9pm as the flames leapt up towards the stars and sparks flew all around.