The event has been organised by Chillswim, which is run by Colin Hill and Steph Cox, from High Wray near Hawkshead, who are also both accomplished winter swimmers.
I think The Big Chill 2014 will be a fantastic event. I am very pleased by the number of people who are taking part. Winter swimming has really taken off in the UK in the last year, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this movement with our International Winter Swimming Association event. Winter swimming can seem like a very odd idea to the uninitiated, but the sense of wellbeing and exhilaration you get when you have finished the swim is quite incredible. All your endorphins kick in. It is an amazing, life-affirming experience.
The Big Chill Swim attractsexperienced winter swimmers from as far afield as, Latvia, South Africa, Italy, Germany and Russia, France and Finland. However, many of the participants are amateurs, swimming for fun or to raise money for charity.
It is not for the faint hearted, wetsuits are not permitted and the water will be below five degrees, but hundreds of swimmers have signed up to race over 30, 50 and 450 metres as well as an epic 1000 extreme event for the very experienced cold water veterans.
Top level competitors include Estonian winter swimming endurance world champion Henri Kaarma and the head of the International Winter Swimming Association Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen.