An Aberdeen University lecturer will be taking regular a dip in the icy waters of the River Dee to say thanks to the waterway for saving her from lockdown depression.
Mirjam Brady is a keen swimmer who lost access to swimming pools when they closed earlier this year because of Covid-19 restrictions.
The 38-year-old psychology lecturer was a regular at the pool and would visit everyday but felt “down” after she could not go.
Her husband bought her a wetsuit and she went swimming in the sea and said it was like her personal lockdown “was no longer happening” as a result of being able to return to the water.
Mirjam then joined a group of wild swimmers who take the plunge in the River Dee in Aberdeen at high tide, when the current slows down.
She returned to the River Dee yesterday to praise it for the impact it made on her mental health during the lockdown in the spring.
After coming out of the water, Mirjam said: “That was fantastic. I feel like I can conquer the world.”
She has been swimming on the River Dee most days since May and wears a wetsuit, gloves, cap as well as an orange flat while going between King George VI Bridge and Bridge of Dee.
Mirjam said she did not know how important exercise was to her mental health until she was unable to swim.
She said: “I’m a regular pool goer and before the pools shut I never realised how important that swimming is for my mental health.
“When I could no longer do that my mood gradually went down.
“After about two months my husband got me a wetsuit and I went into the North Sea near Bridge of Don and that was great.
“I felt like lockdown was no longer happening for me because I could do what I love doing.
“After swimming in the sea I discovered the Swim Free Aberdeen Group and that is how I learned about swimming in the Dee.
“I went out with them a few times and I’ve been here most days since May.
“It feels like you’ve got your head in a bucket of water but here you have all the wildlife like seals, salmon and ducks.
“There is also a great spirit among the Swim Free Aberdeen folk and every single one of them is a lovely person.
“We all talk afterwards about what we saw out on the river and you don’t get that in a swimming pool.”
Mirjam plans to swim in the chilly waters of the river every fortnight until the end of December as part of a fundraising bid for the River Dee Trust.
It is part of the trust’s campaign to plant a million native trees to safeguard salmon and other species against rising summer temperatures.
Sandy Bremner, River Dee Trust chairman, said: “We are delighted that Mirjam’s experience of the river helped her through a difficult time, and we are very grateful for her support. The Million Trees campaign seems to have fired the public’s imagination. We have been overwhelmed by messages of encouragement and offers of help.”
For more information on the Mirjam’s fundraising for River Dee Trust’s Million Trees Campaign visit https://bit.ly/2SgvvHP