Wrapped up warm I trundle down towards the Cove at Lulworth, just as the sun struggles to emerge on a bitterly cold January morning.

The wind is whipping up from the sea giving me goose bumps. I arrive at the Cove, cheeks stinging, and nose numb. I look out towards the Channel, chinks of light reflecting like sparklers off the steel grey water.

The icy salt wind flicks hair around my face and into my eyes. I settle myself on the wall overlooking the Cove and wait. It is not long before I hear faint laughter as two friends arrive bundled into padded coats, fleeces, hats, gloves and carrying bags filled with towels and flasks of hot tea and chocolate.

Both women quickly undress.

My friend Kim Osmond explains that she is not a particularly strong swimmer and has only recently started cold water swimming at the Cove. Her goal is to swim The Solent for her charity ‘Help our Wounded Marines and Supporting Arms’.

The very thought of entering the water sends a shiver up an already cold spine, but here they both are, ready to take the plunge. Attaching orange buoys to their wrists they start wading in. I hold my breath waiting for them to come running back towards me, but stoically they submerge and begin to swim.

I sit and watch, feeling rather envious of my two brave friends. Cold water swimming has so many wonderful benefits, aside from meeting new friends, it is alleged that it is excellent for pain management, boosting immunity, burning calories and reducing stress.

With all this in mind I think I may dip my toe in… but perhaps I will wait until July!