Gilly McArthur was rock climbing in Utah in 2013 when she slipped and fell down 30-feet. Despite being attached to a climbing rope, her body smashed into the rock face, breaking several of her ribs and the bottom vertebra of her spine, reports Belfast Telegraph. Though the 47-year-old recovered from her injuries, she still had a fear of falling. But that was until the adrenaline junkie found her new hobby - ice swimming.
For Gilly, ice swimming has today become a form of salvation.
"The sense of power I feel from doing something that seems to be so difficult and impossible is immense and makes me very happy indeed," she says.
Gilly, who lives in the Lake District, regularly swims in the mountain lakes near her home.
"Every day that I swim is different, and the water in different tarns or seas has different qualities too. Being in the icy water brings a deeper challenge and if there is ice in the lakes, I'll grab an axe and I will always seek it out," she tells Swimming.org
Today, Gilly always takes a friend along when she goes swimming after experiencing 'afterdrop' - a condition that causes the body's circulation to shut down.
Not that it has deterred the champion ice swimmer in any way.
"In our current world of fear, control and risk aversion, getting into and embracing the cold can be truly liberating, life changing and can bring deep joy," she concludes.Click for more trending news