RUNNING into a chilly River Forth on New Year’s Day for a Loony Dook or the dip in Limekilns could well be considered as madness.

So how do you describe anyone who willingly takes on an extreme winter swimming challenge over a one-mile distance, in water temperatures of less than five degrees Celsius and does not even wear a wetsuit?

For ice-cool Rosyth mum Jenny Waring, swimming in the open water – particularly during the winter months – is nothing out of the ordinary for her and an increasing number of like-minded people.

Last Saturday, Jenny, 38, helped make history when she took part, and completed, Scotland’s first ice mile challenge at Bardowie Loch, Milngavie.

The mum-of-two was one of four competitors to take on the ice mile, which saw them drive into waters of 4.5 degrees, and she finished in a time of 31 minutes and 51 seconds.

Jenny said: “I’ve been doing open water and wild water swimming for years but I’d never swum that far before. I’ve always swum in the sea; when you become an adult, you think you shouldn’t do it, but I still do! Open water swimming is increasing in popularity and is useful for a lot of people. I like it; it’s great fitness and I like the adventure and escapism. Nothing else matters when you’re in the water; it clears your mind.”

She continued: “I had originally registered to do the 1km race but, after my training, I felt good and ready to do the mile. I would have regretted not doing it and knew that if I wasn’t feeling great during it, I could be pulled out.

“It is dangerous to a level but as long as you’re sensible it’s absolutely fine. There was a huge team of paramedics there and a trained kayaker alongside us in case anyone went into stages of hypothermia. You do feel numb after a few minutes – you lose your feet pretty instantly – but your brain can say that I’ll be OK for a certain time. Once you come out you can’t stand up properly; your feet feel like tree trunks and you spend around double the time shivering than you do in the water.

“It’s just you, a swimsuit, goggles and a cap but your body adapts to the water. There are two laps of 804 metres and, after the first, you think: ‘Can I carry on’? I was just trying to stay positive and keep pace so I was delighted to finish second in the race.

“My kids were a bit worried at first but they’ve been with me when I’ve been training so know what to expect. My friends and family are used to it; it makes me happy and there’s nothing better than a cold, frosty, sunny morning and going for a swim!”