609 in 2015 and later

648 past in 2015 (updated 17-07-'15)

Could swimming in Scotland's cold seas be a cure for pain, depression and grief?

In the depths of winter, wild swimmers are wading out into the chill waters – not just because it's bonkers, but because it helps them deal with pain, depression and grief. Photographer Anna Deacon and writer, Vicky Allan, now a keen outdoor swimmer, have followed their stories.

THE last swim we did, on Monday past, I stayed in a little too long. It was a beautiful morning – pink skies, gentle, rolling swells – and my friend, Bryony Knox and I bobbed around the Portobello shore for around half an hour, throwing and chasing balls like dogs. The water temperature was between six and seven degrees. I did my first handstand. I was wearing a wet suit, but one so old and ill-fitting my co-swimmers had pointed out it was almost pointless. I’ve been alternating wetsuit swims with what’s called in swim jargon “skins” – swimming costume dips – and one of the things I like about the wetsuit is I can stay in a bit longer. 

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