WITH air temperatures plummeting to minus 10 degrees you would be forgiven for making a beeline to the nearest hotel that serves hot chocolate.

But for High Wray swimmer Colin Hill those chilly temperatures provide the perfect opportunity to take a dip.

This week he went up against some of the world’s top competitors at the ninth Winter Swimming World Championships in northern Finland.

Just six miles south of the Arctic Circle, in a small city called Rovaniemi, Colin completed the 450 metre endurance swim in six minutes 29 seconds - meaning he finished third out of a field of 17.

“The rules are that all swimmers must start in the water and no tumble turns are allowed,” he said. “I was racing against Henri Kaarma from Estonia who took first place. “Henri lead from the start, but I was pleased with my result, as Henri trains daily in zero degree water.

“My training meant that I had to hike up to Red Tarn on Helvellyn to get into water at zero degrees.”

Colin, who with partner Steph Cox runs open-water swimming specialist company Chillswim, was also promoting next year’s Big Chill Swim which takes place over the weekend of January 31/February 1 on Windermere. “This year we had teams fly in to take part in the event from Russia, Latvia, Finland and Germany,” he added.

“We are promoting the event to hopefully attract more international swimmers to compete in our official International Winter Swimming Association Race.

“Delegates from the next World Championships, which will take place in 2016 in Siberia, are already looking at coming to our event once again to look at how we run it, as we have a great reputation among our international teams”