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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > March 19 > Ice, ice baby

Ice, ice baby

Wild days and wild swims in the Lake District with Gilly McArthur. By Jonathan Cowie

“Walking round the supermarket with an axe and underwear in my dryrobe pockets certainly got some looks,” says Gilly McArthur. If you went anywhere near Instagram in January, you may have seen stunning photographs of the Lake District swimmer smashing through ice to swim in frozen lakes and tarns. “I get a lot of people saying to me it’s bonkers,” she laughs. “But if you haven’t tried it, how do you know?”

Gilly swam every day in January as part of Mind’s RED January campaign, promoting better mental health through exercise. Her swims were documented by photographer and friend James Kirby. “I usually swim about three times a week but after my New Year’s Day swim in a breezy tarn, I thought I’d just carry on – as part of the RED campaign,” she says. “I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but on the first wild day with rain, wind and a minus wind chill I thought ‘oh heck’.”

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Stunt swimming, ice swimming, urban swimming, swimming after bears, Channel swimming, lake swimming, river dipping – from the Lake District to Dubai, via London, Montana, Geneva and Tooting. It's all in the March issue of Outdoor Swimmer. Plus, training, technique, stunning photographs, inspiring stories. And cake!