You must be Loony.. but you gotta LOVE the Loony Dook!
One thing I learned, at the Hogmanay Festival in Edinburgh last year, is that the Scots seem oblivious to the cold.
Coming from the tropics, I really had to bundle up when I was out and about for the new year’s celebrations on Princes Street – thousands of people gathered to usher in the New Year at Hogmanay celebrations in towns and cities across Scotland and the concert and fireworks were truly spectacular. In Edinburgh, Simple Minds, The View and Bwani Junction performed at the Concert in the Gardens on Hogmanay, and there were fireworks throughout the evening, climaxing at the stroke of midnight. After that everybody sang Auld Lang Syne and it was all pretty emotional.
However a more curious and unusual celebration occurs that very next morning. It’s whacky, it’s nuts, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
Over 1,000 New Year swimmers, many in fancy costume or in little less than a bikini, brave freezing conditions in the River Forth in front of the Forth Rail Bridge. This extremely fun event is called the Loony Dook and it happens on January the 1st, of every year at South Queensferry, in Scotland.
Yes you could say that, many took the opportunity to wash away their Hogmanay hangover after the 80,000-strong party in nearby Edinburgh the night before.
This world-famous event originated back in 1987 and today an ever increasing, number of locals and visitors alike, aged from 8 to 80 take a plunge in the River Forth in the shadow of the famous Bridges.
It all started over a conversation between two friends, at the bar of The Moorings during the Christmas break in 1986 when one said to the other, “How about doing something different to celebrate the New Year?” to which the friend replied, “Let’s jump in the Forth on New Year’s Day, maybe it’ll clear the hangovers!”. Both immediately agreed to do it, “If you will, I will!”. Some of the other locals decided to join in and so the event was born.
From that very small beginning, with only a handful of “dookers”, there is now a resounding 1000 over participants and approaching 4000 spectators from literally all over the world. In addition this event has raised a lot of money for local charities which is really rather commendable.
There is a fantastic sense of camaraderie, as people from places like South Africa, Australia, Canada, South America, most European countries, USA, Malaysia, etc. take the plunge into the icy cold Forth.
The biggest highlight of the Loony Dook is that the participants take so much trouble to dress in outrageous costumes, some so intricate and creative, it will have you gasping with amazement – there are pirates, clowns, playboy bunnies, footballers, school girls and nurses – It’s all over the top, Crazy.. or should I say, Loony!
And the celebrations keep rolling on…
On New Year’s Day, or Ne’erday as the Scots say, the celebrations continue with the New Year’s Day Triathlon, beginning with a plunge into the newly refurbished Royal Commonwealth Pool and continuing around Arthur’s Seat, the landmark hill in Holyrood Park; there is also a sled dog race in Holyrood Park known as the Dogmanay, and of course, for the truly intrepid, there’s Loony Dook, a leap into the Firth of Forth for an icy hangover cure!
All Loony Dook photos courtesy of Traveldudes
‘This campaign is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by VisitScotland,ETAG, Edinburgh Festivals, Haggis Adventures and Skyscanner. Skyscanner provided our flights to Edinburgh. CCFoodTravel maintains full editorial control of the content published on this blog.’
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