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Hill walking and swimming go hand in hand for me. The pay off for a sweaty hike uphill is a cool tarn to dip in. Once winter sets in though, I am happy to flirt with the snow line. Not being a winter mountaineer I like to stick resolutely within my comfort zone. I favour tarns that don't take hours to get to or ones that have a decent pub (and roaring fire!) at the end of the walk. These are walks where a summit is not the main objective. My essential kit for winter swimming in the hills includes a pair of micro spikes and some fleecy mittens, a square of yoga mat to stand on and a flask of thick warming soup. The water doesn't usually reach its finger-curling low until January and February and at this time of year, post swim routines are key. I fold and pile my clothes in the order I will put them back on so no matter how cold I am all I have to do is follow the order. Here are my five favourite tarns for winter swims...

Suzanna Cruickshank


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