LIKE smashed avocado and banana bread, wild swimming has suddenly become ‘a thing’.

Yet it’s been around for a while - Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale were said to be advocates of cold water immersion.

And now Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says he takes a dip in his pond most mornings, even breaking the ice on the surface this winter.

It looks both horrifying and appealing. Open water swimming is said to soothe muscle aches, relieves stress and boosts the immune system, but boy it's cold!

A friend of mine who lives in Scotland regularly swims in lochs and swears by her daily dips, and judging from the photos she posts online she looks the picture of health.

Now if I had a lovely Scottish loch nearby I might be temped to give it a go - but the only open water near me is the Leeds Liverpool Canal. And taking a dip in there is not an appealing prospect anytime of year, especially in January.