An open swimming expert has warned of the dangers of taking a lockdown dip.

Living in North Ayrshire means living in scenic areas with beautiful walks along the seafront, river banks, reservoirs and lochs.

The prolonged warm weather has made daily exercise an absolute pleasure and it may seem tempting to take a paddle or enter the water when it’s so warm but this could prove fatal.

Katherine Self, an open swimming organiser who worked in the coastguard and with lifeboats, told the Herald: “The sea cools down slower, so it can stay warmer longer in the winter, and stay colder in the spring.

“Inland water ways pose their own risks with fast moving water, debris and run off the from the land.

“The facts state that basically because as spring warms up, it is singlehandedly the worst time of year due to hyperthermia.

“In March and April, inland or the sea, the water is at its coldest.

“It’s starting to warm up, but you are still very at risk at this time of year.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue regularly respond to emergency calls from people who have witnessed someone getting into difficulty in open water and on average 50 people drown each year.

Ayrshire’s most senior firefighter urged people to stay safe in and around water as Scotland continues to enjoy extended periods of sunshine.

Ian McMeekin, local senior officer, is determined to do all he can to avoid tragedy by emphasising the dangers of entering water unprepared.

He said: “We know that people can be attracted to water when the weather is as nice as it has been recently.

“But, tragically, people often don’t realise how cold, and dangerous, water can be until it is too late.

“There are hidden risks which can be impossible to spot - there can be anything down there.

“Sadly, things can go wrong very quickly.”

Last week, a person was rescued after being trapped within rocks on Ardrossan’s North Shore.

Firefighters attended the scene near the Old Shell site, and the person did not require hospital treatment.