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A swim every day in December and January in Magaluf. Photo: H. Carter.

20-08-2013
Magaluf is a resort for young people, if you believe the publicity blurbs put out by the tour firms but perhaps they should re-consider and alter the slogan to “a place for the young at heart.” In the case of Wilf Tattersall Magalluf has all the delights of a top holiday resort. It has the beach, the sun, and the sea. But in his case there are two important differences, he is aged 90 and he comes on holiday in December and January. While many of us moan about the chill Majorcan weather, Wilf goes for a swim in Magalluf and has been doing so during the winter months for the last 13 years. “Back in England, I live in Kent, and I swim everyday from May to September in the sea. The water here in December/January is as warm as it is in Kent in September. It's not cold at all. In fact it's refreshing,” says the 90-year-old who says that the secret of a long fruitful life is keeping active. When on holiday he keeps to his routine. Down to Magalluf beach, unfold his chair, swim, back to the beach where he either sketches or carves just by the promenade. He is so active that he insists on half board “losing two hours for lunch in this beautiful place is a real shame.” And before he returns to his Magalluf hotel, he has another swim. But Wilf does feel the cold, that's why he comes to Majorca at this time of the year. He can't understand why more people don't follow his lead and escape the British weather and head for Majorca. Born three years before the start of the First World War keeping fit has been his mission. For many years he worked at the Timex watch factory in Dundee and his body still functions like one of the time-pieces he made. Walking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands is probably what gave him the inner strength to brave the chilly Majorcan waters in December and January. “I used to finish work, give my wife a kiss, and head-up to the Highlands for the weekend with just a tent, a good pair of boots and a few provisions,” he recalled. It was his climbing companion, the former Medical Officer of the Falkland Islands, who introduced him to Spain. “We always used to go on holiday to Cornwall, as I didn't like flying. But this man managed to persuade me to go to his home just outside Alicante. I went by train, it took 39 hours but it was worth it. I had a fantastic time and vowed to return.” The next year it was Torremolinos and Benidorm and that did really take his fancy. But then he discovered Magalluf and his long association started. Most mornings he can be found, in bathing trunks and all, on the promenade at Magalluf carving, or sketching. In fact he has become quite a Magalluf character. When he is not swimming or working with his crafts he likes to go for a short walk...well in his case a short stroll is from Paguera to San Telmo and back. He keeps a diary of his day which is always pretty full and interesting. Walking back from the Hotel Honolulu where he is staying, I looked out at the sea and felt a chill go through my body. Warm it may be in the sun, but the sea... that it is a different matter. “You young people today don't know that you've got it so good. When I left home in 1931 there was three and a half million unemployment and there was no benefit and living conditions were very poor. It was a very tough time.” Perhaps, it's that...they don't make them like they used to.

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