They are long-fabled sea creatures said to have lured men to their deaths and wreaked disaster on sailors.

But according to a new documentary by BBC Alba, the modern-day “mermaid” has her own YouTube channel and enjoys swimming in the sub-zero waters of Scotland in winter.

Kate Macleod, from Uig on the isle of Lewis, is a wild water swimmer who uses a custom-made monofin to live out her childhood dream of being a mermaid.

The 23-year-old braves the freezing waters of the sea and lochs on the island all year round and is just one of the islanders featured in the BBC documentary which gives a glimpse into life in the Outer Hebrides during the harsh winter months.

Ms Macleod, a freelance editor who also makes films for BBC The Social, had her tail made especially by a woman in Hawaii and sometimes uses it for commercial photoshoots, as well as her own enjoyment.

She said: “People say that life is hard in the islands during the winter especially when the weather is wild and it’s cold and dark and it’s always raining.

“If you’re wearing appropriate clothing though, and you are prepared to get wet, then it’s not so bad.

“I enjoy film making especially outdoors because it is so beautiful here and I just want to share it with everyone, especially during winter. 

“The clouds are so dark and it makes the sea look even greener. And I’m going to swim in it!”

The swimmer added that the outdoors have always been a big part of her life – even in the dark, cold days of winter.

She said: “In the olden days, people used to stay indoors during the winter. Their aim was to keep warm and healthy. 

“But my family tend to try and spend time outdoors and the sea plays a huge part in our lives.

“We embrace everything in this area. The problems of the world are far from your mind. 

“You just swim. I feel like a mermaid. I just enjoy it.

“When I put my head under the water, I feel weightless and as I swim, I appreciate the beauty around me. There’s no other place like this.”

The programme, Trusadh: An Geamhradh/Winter also features Duncan Mackinnon, the manager of Ness FC Social Club which plays an important part in the community, weaver Miriam Hamilton who fell in love with Harris Tweed and decided to learn the trade and musician Willie Campbell who prefers the islands to Glasgow in winter.

Photographer James MacLetchie, who creates images of the northern lights, and  writer Catriona Lexy Campbell who claims she writes more in winter, also feature.

Seumas Mactaggart, head of Production & Development at Stornoway-based TV production company MacTV who made the programme for BBC Alba, said life on the islands in winter is not for everyone –  but can be a time for creativity for many islanders.

He said: “This is a unique filmic glimpse into the lives of islanders inspired by winter in some of Britain’s most Westerly communities.

“The nights draw in, the clocks fall back, and winter arrives in the Western Isles.

“Here, where low-slung villages link wilderness and sea, the dark season throws landscape and life, and their many textures, into sharper focus.

“It can be harsh and it is always long. Many would never endure it, but for some who live here, winter brings its own light – a time of creativity, to be cherished.

“This programme falls into step with artists, poets, wilderness lovers and more as they navigate their own versions of winter in this island outpost. It can be tough but incredibly beautiful and rewarding, as we hear in the stories from people in these communities.”

Trusadh: An Geamhradh/Winter aired on Monday at 9pm and is available on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days.