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Gilly McArthur

Welcome to my website.

Hi there - I'm Gilly - Cold water swim coach (with a passion for ice) rock climber, speaker and illustrator. I generally prefer to communicate through my drawings, but as you're here to learn a little more about me, I best pull my finger out and write some words!

My passions lie in the outdoors, cold water and encouraging others to find their place in both.

Originally from Scotland, I take a my inspiration from my surroundings. I now live in the Lake District and am very partial to barefoot wanderings, ice swims, beautiful trees and meditation.

Having worked in the outdoor industry for over 20 years, the outdoors is as much my profession as it is my pastime. I am a qualified swim coach, lifeguard, director of the Women's Trad Festival and founder of Blue Mind Men - a mens cold water swim club.

As a cold water swim coach I work with charities, individuals, corporate clients and businesses to help people access cold water safely for physical and mental wellbeing.

Blue Mind Men was inspired by my love of swimming over winter in high up tarns and hunting for ice with a few hardy friends (not the most common of 'hobbies'!). This club takes the form of a weekly session, for men and friends for those keen to discover cold water skin (no wetsuit) swimming and the benefits it has on mental wellbeing.

The Women's Trad Festival is a rock climbing community and festival formed on the values of mental wellbeing, accessibility and sustainability. In 2020 we launched a project called "Climbers Like Me" - aimed to celebrate and champion the diverse faces and voices within the climbing community.

I'm part of the team at Wonderful Wild Women in Cumbria, we aim to inspire others to get outside and the community welcomes anyone of any ability to give things a go be that running, biking, swimming or hiking.

When it comes to drawing; illustrating people, the outdoors environment and made-up creatures are my forteā€¦ Though I have been known to draw brains for meditation publications, safety posters for businesses, and work for climbing publications. I love the variety of my work - just don't ask me to draw a horse... I'm still hopeless!

Hopefully, that gives you a flavour of me. On this website you'll find plenty more - from BBC radio recordings to popular podcasts; climbing and ice swimming films; the latest from the Women's Trad Festival; articles I've written in a host of magazines and my illustrations.

There are a bunch of other films and bits and bobs on Instagram too. I'm not on Facebook or elsewhere as life is too short for too much screen time.

As featured in or worked with... see below! Never up to date but a flavour what I've been up to recently.



News Papers