Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

My freezestyle swimming dream: Chronic pain sufferer tells how wild dips ease agony

Laura Ormiston (24), who has Elhers Danlos Syndrome, swimming in Loch Rannoch (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)
Laura Ormiston (24), who has Elhers Danlos Syndrome, swimming in Loch Rannoch (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)

WILD swimming leaves Laura Ormiston chilled but thrilled.

Despite a rare genetic condition affecting her joints and causing chronic pain, Laura strikes out across a freezing Loch Rannoch.

Laura, 24, from Eaglesham, said: “I know this would not be everyone’s cup of tea, but wild swimming surrounded by stunning Scottish scenery is the only way I feel alive. It’s kept me feeling that way despite very challenging physical difficulties.

“I can’t think of anywhere else in the world I’d rather be, or anything I’d rather be doing.

“And the painkilling benefits of wild swimming cannot be replicated by medicine. Everyone should try it for the sake of their health.” Laura suffers from a rare genetic condition known as Elhers Danos Syndrome, which affects the connective tissue around her body, causing gastric problems and leaving her in constant pain.

Despite her childhood and teenage years being blighted by the condition, Laura, who works in a nursery supporting children with complex needs, is determined to go wild swimming in every continent in the world.

Laura takes a dip (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)
Laura takes a dip (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)

She said: “I’ve lost so much because of pain and medical complications, I live every moment to the full, and this challenge is top of my ‘bucket list’.

“Wild swimming has saved me, kept me going. I cannot imagine life without it now. Just 10 minutes in freezing water gives me half an hour being pain free. I savour it.”

Her coach, Robert Hamilton, 50, of Vigour Sports, describes Laura as an “incredible athlete” and said: “An ordinary person would be lucky to survive for just two minutes.

“Your system shuts down. Cold water shock sets in. It can kill you. The survival rate is just one minute per degree of temperature. The coldest tap water is 16C. A swimming pool is 28C. Loch Rannoch was less than 2C today.”

Laura warming up after her swim (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)
Laura warming up after her swim (Andrew Cawley / DC Thomson)

Robert added: “It’s taken several years of training and a lot of stamina for Laura to achieve what she has. It’s all the more incredible she’s also fighting a medical condition.”

Robert, from Glasgow, started Vigour Events five years ago and has trained swimmers to Olympic level.

He says wild swimming is taking over from marathon running as the latest “must do” adventure sport.

Robert said: “It’s taken off in the past three years. We now have far more women than men taking part, particularly women over 35.

“It’s an antidote to modern living. We’re often boxed in at the office or working from home.”

But with 78 fatalities at open water sites across Scotland, Robert is helping draw new rules to make the sport safer – like wearing a bright cap.

Robert said: “Plus one of the most common mistakes is not letting others know where you’ve gone.”