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Former Oban Lorne RFC captain Iwan Roberts and his wife Lindsey got themselves into deep water last month, raising more than £600 for wellbeing charity Healthy Options in the process.
A dip-a-day in February saw the couple behind the Wee Walk Oban initiative take to lochs and sea around the area 28 days in succession as part of the charity’s 5 to 10 campaign which will help towards the cost of delivering their services in the Oban and Lorn area.
Iwan and Lindsey, and sometimes their dog Nola, spent at least two minutes per day in the water.
‘Those 2 minutes were very long on some of the days, but on others we stayed in for over 20 minutes,’ explained Iwan.
‘We didn’t wear wetsuits, just wetsuit boots and gloves (and a swimsuit of course!). We find this is far better than the other way around, and wearing a wetsuit but no gloves or boots. So for anyone getting into wild swimming, I would say that these are more important than the wetsuit, as having cold fingers isn’t fun.’
Keeping the unwritten wild swimming rule of not revealing too many beauty spots, Iwan and Lindsey tested various destinations during the month, often in bitter conditions.
Iwan added: ‘We had about three days in which the sun was trying to shine through, but the rest were pretty wet and wild.
‘At the beginning of February the temperatures dropped and we had an amazing experience of going for a dip in a frozen lochan, which required us to break a hole big enough to swim in using our ice axes.
‘We avoided swimming in the sea when it was windy, and the rain didn’t bother us once we were in the water, but it certainly made it harder to get out of the house. One day stands out, because it was 6.30am, so total darkness, and we swam in a loch which was below two degrees and the air temperature was minus four.’
Iwan and Lindsey have already managed to raise £617 for Lorn Healthy Options which helps people to self-manage their health and wellbeing.
‘We’re both passionate about the role exercise and healthy lifestyle choices has on everybody’s physical and mental health,’ added Iwan.
‘Exercise and eating nutritious food should be the norm and something to be enjoyed, not a chore.
‘This is easier said than done though, and the work that Healthy Options does is vital to help people improve and manage their physical and mental health, which also reduces the stress on our National Health Service.’
Donations can still be made at the Local Giving February Wild Swim page.
Because of how good they felt, mostly mentally, after the daily swims, the couple are going to keep up the habit and try and do it a couple of times a week.
A video of the challenge can be found at https://youtu.be/p8Y4xgnpJQ0
Go to www.lornhealthyoptions.co.uk to find out more about Lorn Healthy Options and the 5 to 10 Campaign.