Isn’t it a shame that under normal circumstances our Halloween costumes accumulate nothing but dust most of the year? Well, for those living in and around South Queensferry – Edinburgh, it need not be the case. Every year after Hogmanay (New Year’s in Scotland) a hoard of mad brave souls converge for a frigid splash in the Firth of Forth with the magnificent Rail Bridge looming in the distance.
Costumes, as well as the participants, are colorful/zany and come in all shapes and sizes. From Little Red Riding Hood to the man wrapped in bubble tape (and even a mankini thrown in for good measure) there were many creative and equally crazy costumes during the event in 2014.
Out of the over 1000 Dookers that participate some appear to be right in their element; in particular, one very fit mature man was swimming around like it was the hottest day in July. Conversely, other participants came racing out of the icy cold river with chattering teeth and furiously dried off with multiple towels.
Aside from being a dream for photographers, all proceeds from the Loony Dook go towards charity.
Whether one is a Dooker or merely a spectator, it’s one of the quirkiest events you can ever possibly attend with plenty of laughs and smiling faces to be seen.
As a travel tip, for the best vantage point as a spectator it is recommended to arrive early before the masses converge.
The following is a photo essay capturing Loony Dook in all of its glory:
Loony Dook Origin Story
The Loony Dook, also known as the New Year’s Day Dip, is an annual tradition that takes place in Scotland. It involves brave individuals taking a chilly dip in the icy waters of the Firth of Forth on New Year’s Day.
The event started in 1986 when a small group of people decided to take a dip in the freezing waters of the River Forth to cure their New Year’s Eve hangovers. Over the years, the event has grown in popularity and now attracts thousands of participants from all over the world.
The Loony Dook takes place on January 1st at South Queensferry, a picturesque town located on the banks of the River Forth, just a few miles outside of Edinburgh. The event starts with a procession of participants, many of whom are dressed in wacky costumes, parading through the town’s High Street to the sound of bagpipes.
The Loony Dook is not just a fun way to start the New Year, it is also a charitable event that raises money for a number of local and national charities. Participants are encouraged to raise money for their chosen charity through sponsorship.
If you’re planning to take part in the Loony Dook, it is important to dress appropriately for the occasion. This means wearing warm clothes, a hat, and gloves to protect yourself from the cold. Many participants also wear fancy dress costumes, but it’s important to ensure that your costume is warm enough for the chilly waters.
It’s also worth noting that the Loony Dook is not for the faint-hearted. The waters of the Firth of Forth can be icy cold, and the shock of the cold water can be a real challenge for some participants. It’s important to take things slowly and to follow the advice of the event organisers.
If you’re not feeling brave enough to take part in the Loony Dook, you can still enjoy the spectacle as a spectator. The event is free to attend and there are plenty of vantage points along the route where you can watch the procession and the dippers taking the plunge.
All in all, the Loony Dook is a unique and exhilarating way to start the New Year. Whether you’re taking part as a dipper or a spectator, it’s an experience that you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay: Loony Dook
Photo Essay: Loony Dook Madness!
I thought this chap had the best costume by far decked out in the Wolf wearing Grandma’s clothes. Watch out Little Red Riding Hood!
A group of mad souls brave the icy cold waters of the Firth of Forth to ring in the New Year
A couple of cute kids waiting along the spectator row for the Loony Dook to begin.
Loony Dook participants strike a pose prior to the event commencing.
A girl wearing a warm pink fleece and toque sits on top of her Dad’s shoulders while watching the Loony Dook in Edinburgh, Scotland.
This man beams a radiant smiles during the Loony Dook festivities at the Firth of Forth.
A delighted smile of a lady enjoying the Loony Dook in Scotland.
Little Red Riding Hood does her best to escape from the Big Bad Wolf during the madness of the Loony Dook.
Quite possibly the biggest smile at the Loony Dook event.
A man with the Scottish flag painted on his face stops to smile during the Loony Dook.
The Village people showed up for the Loony Dook!
A man very confidently and bravely swims in the Firth of Forth during Loony Dook.
Would you like to attend this year? Only a few weeks away, here is what you need to know:
How To Attend The Loony Dook
The annual Loony Dook is a New Year’s Day tradition in Scotland that involves a dip in the frigid waters of the River Forth. It’s a unique experience that is not for the faint of heart. Here are some tips on how to attend the Loony Dook and make the most of this Scottish tradition:
- Plan ahead: The Loony Dook is a popular event and attracts a large crowd, so it’s important to plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need. This includes transportation, warm clothing, and a towel.
- Dress up: The Loony Dook is a chance to get creative and dress up in a fun and wacky outfit. Many people wear fancy dress costumes, while others opt for more traditional Scottish attire.
- Arrive early: The Loony Dook kicks off at around midday on January 1st, but it’s best to arrive early to secure a good spot and avoid the crowds.
- Stay warm: The water is cold, so it’s important to stay warm before and after the dip. Bring warm clothing, a hat, and gloves, and consider bringing a thermos of hot tea or soup.
- Embrace the experience: The Loony Dook is a unique and memorable experience, so embrace the moment and enjoy yourself. Don’t be afraid to join in the singing and dancing that takes place on the riverbank.
- Follow the rules: The Loony Dook is a fun event, but it’s important to follow the rules and stay safe. Listen to the organizers and make sure you are aware of any hazards in the water.
- Join a group: If you’re traveling alone, consider joining a group or making new friends on the day. It’s a great way to meet new people and share in the fun.
- Take photos: Don’t forget to capture the moment by taking photos or videos of the event. It’s a great way to remember the experience and share it with others.
- Explore the area: The Loony Dook takes place in the picturesque town of South Queensferry, which is worth exploring before or after the event. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops to check out.
- Support a charity: The Loony Dook is not just a fun event, it’s also a fundraiser for various charities. Consider making a donation or raising money for a good cause while taking part in the festivities.
Other New Year’s Activities In Scotland
Scotland is renowned worldwide for its famous Hogmanay celebrations, and while it is a magnificent way to ring in the New Year, there are also many other fun and festive activities to enjoy during the holiday season.
One popular New Year’s Day activity in Scotland is the Biggar Bonfire. Held in the town of Biggar in South Lanarkshire, this annual event is an excellent way to kick off the New Year. Visitors can enjoy live music, food, and drinks while warming themselves by the bonfire.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing start to the year, a scenic walk in the Scottish countryside might be just the ticket. Many people choose to take a stroll along one of Scotland’s many beautiful beaches, such as Luskentyre in the Outer Hebrides, or a hike in the stunning Scottish Highlands.
Another exciting New Year’s Day tradition in Scotland is the Stonehaven Fireball Ceremony. This unique spectacle involves locals swinging fireballs above their heads as they march through the streets of Stonehaven, a coastal town in Aberdeenshire. The ceremony symbolizes the burning of the old year and the welcoming of the new one.
For a more traditional Scottish experience, visitors can attend a ceilidh, a traditional Scottish dance. These events are held all over the country and are a fantastic way to experience Scottish music and culture.
Finally, for those who want to take a dip in the frigid waters of the North Sea, the Nippy Dip at Coldingham Bay is a New Year’s Day tradition not to be missed. This annual event brings together brave souls from all over Scotland to take a dip in the icy waters and raise money for charity.
No matter what your preference, Scotland has plenty of options to celebrate the New Year. Whether you want to dance the night away, take a hike in the beautiful Scottish countryside, or take a refreshing dip in the North Sea, there is something for everyone in this vibrant and festive country.
What are your thoughts on Loony Dook? Would you like to participate? Watch as a spectator? Do you know of another quirky event that is comparable? Let me know in the comments section below: