A FAMILY visiting Ilkley from Australia were among the hundreds of people plunging into a freezing bath at White Wells.

Hardy souls embarked on the New Year's Day challenge to kick start their 2019 celebrations with a dip in the infamous pool.

Volunteers signed up at the nearby White Wells cafe before walking next door and taking the steps down into the murky water.

The first to tackle the Ilkley challenge was Sandra Gale, who was followed by families and people of all ages.

Charli Oliver, 19, from Perth, in Western Australia, was joined by her boyfriend Matthew Lloyd and 15-year-old sister, Amy.

The trio are staying with family in West Yorkshire and decided to take on the challenge after being encouraged to do so by their relatives.

"It wasn't as bad as I was expecting," said Charli, who claimed the water was about six degrees centigrade.

"My sister said she couldn't breathe when she got in because it was so cold.

"It has been a running family joke for a couple of years now and they finally convinced us to do it.

"We got wrapped up in about seven layers afterwards and had a warm shower when we got home.

"It took a while to get warm again, but it was a good experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting over New Year."

Meanwhile, in nearby Otley, hundreds of swimmers jumped into the chilly waters of the River Wharfe to begin their January in style.

The sun was shining as people in fancy dress - including one man dressed as Spiderman - T-shirts and colourful swimsuits dived into the water at Wharfe Meadows Park and swam along one side of the riverbank before clambering out to find their warm clothes.