A TEACHER is enjoying the health benefits of taking the plunge in the Forth after initially thinking her friends were “absolutely crazy”.

Members of Pans Dookers have enjoyed the water off the East Lothian coastline, visiting beaches at Gullane and Longniddry.

Lynn Paton is now a fully fledged member and enjoyed 50 consecutive days in the water, reaching the milestone at the end of March, despite admitting she was initially worried about what lurked beneath the surface.

The Prestonpans resident said: “It was probably what might touch me in the water.

“I’m going to be honest, I had a fear of jellyfish and anything slimy touching me.

“I spent most of my summers as a child in Portobello and it was not particularly clean.

“It was just a fear of east coast water and I think the cold definitely was something I thought I would never manage.”

The mum-of-two previously swam occasionally at the town’s Mercat Gait Centre but has fallen in love with outdoor swimming with the Pans Dookers, which was started by Sarah Morrice, a local indoor and outdoor swimming teacher.

Lynn braved the waters throughout much of the winter, despite rain, sleet and snow.

During the winter months, many swimmers, some clad in wetsuits and others in swimming costumes, were in the water for about 10 minutes.

But, as the weather improves and water temperatures rise, Lynn, who teaches at Haddington Primary School, is now in the water for more than half an hour.

The 43-year-old, who is often joined by her daughters Isla, 10, and Charlotte, 12, encouraged other people to enjoy the water and explained her initial thoughts about seeing friends in the water.

She said: “I had watched my friends do it for a couple of months and thought they were absolutely crazy.

“They challenged me to stop calling them crazy and to have a go myself.

“It was last August, just before the schools started back, that I took the plunge one morning with Kimberley Mitchell and a group of other ladies from Pans Dookers.

“Just from day dot, I was absolutely hooked and could see the benefits straight away.

“I have always loved swimming but, with pools being closed, it was a difficult one.

“Quite quickly, I was feeling the health benefits of wild swimming – both physically and mentally.

“Everybody during the pandemic has struggled in their own way.

“With my job and aspects of it, it was not easy sometimes having worked in the school hub and then supporting my own girls through their online learning was a bit of a challenge.

“The swimming definitely was something that eased that and the health benefits were just a really, really positive thing.

“I have always suffered with migraines and they have not been as frequent since doing wild swimming.”

Swimmers, ranging in age from five to 70, meet depending on tide times and the weather at different times of day to enjoy a dip.