EVER thought about taking a plunge in the icy depths of Aberdour's Silver Sands in late January?

West Fifers are being given the opportunity to do just that by Mental Health Swims, an organisation focused on improving wellbeing through wild swimming.

Elaine McCall and Ruth Baillie, who host the Silver Sands group, are encouraging brave new members to sign up and join them this Sunday from 2pm.

Elaine, who lives in Inverkeithing, told the Press: "If you've not done it before, you'll look at us and say, 'You're absolutely nuts for doing that' but once you've actually experienced it, I haven't met anyone who's come out and not said, 'That was amazing!'"

Cold water swimming, or dipping, has taken the country by storm but Mental Health Swims focuses on the benefits that the activity has on the mental wellbeing of a person and the hosts, who are all trained in basic cold water safety, are extremely welcoming and friendly, making it a great environment for those who are looking to dip their toe in the water.

She continued: "It's quite good because we we have a right mixture; we have men, we have women, we have youngsters, we have older people, and there's a lot of people have come along by themselves for the first time, which is good because a lot of people want to try it but are really nervous.

"We're quite happy to welcome anybody. We always say, you can come, you can have a swim, have a bob up and down like we do, you can have a paddle or just come along and have a look. If you're not entirely sure, we had someone do that last time, and she is coming this time for a proper dip.

"So we're not saying you've got to come and swim, or you've got to come and do this. You come and do what you want, and then just sit down and have a wee chat afterwards if you want to want to do that, then you don't have to."

There are lots of benefits to cold water therapy, it's not just for your mental health but it certainly helps.

Elaine added: "It's quite funny because one of our group members says, 'Anything can be overwhelming you but 10-15 minutes in the water and you forget it. I don't know if your mind's turning off to keep you warm but your mind kind of just rests at that point and everything that's been going through your head just seems insignificant for the time that you're in the water'.

"My daughter, I got her involved as well because she was very anxious, and she says that when she's in the water, her troubles just float away."

Even though the group has only been running since September, they can draw up quite a crowd with attendees ranging anywhere from 17 to seven at each session.

They already have nine booked in to attend this weekend. To join them and reap the benefits of cold water therapy, book online at https://events.more-human.co.uk/event/1672741517556x344657457953636350 before heading along to Silver Sands on Sunday. To find them on the day, look for the pink pirate flag, or Elaine in her bright pink bobble hat.

"Some people want to come and they book and don't turn up or they come for a wee nosey and I just say to them, look for the pink pirate flag or the crazy woman in the pink bobble hat!" she laughed.