Loony Dook

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The 2009 Loony Dook

The Loony Dook is an annual event held on New Years' Day in which people dive into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth at South Queensferry (north of Edinburgh, Scotland), often in fancy dress.[1]

The name "Loony Dook" is a combination of "Loony" (short for "lunatic") and "Dook", a Scots term meaning "dip" or "bathe".

Course of events[edit]

On New Year's Day, typically in the forenoon (but times vary according to tides),[2] around 1,000[3] Dookers first take part in the so-called Dookers' Fancy Dress Parade, leading from the Hawes car park at the far end of the town to the old mole.[4] Over 4,000 spectators[5] cheer on the participants at various vantage points.

The Dookers are then greeted by bagpipe pipers[6] and warmed with bowls of "energising porridge", prior to plunging themselves into the freezing Firth of Forth.[7]

History[edit]

The event was conceived in 1986 as a joking suggestion by three locals for a New Year's Day hangover cure.[8] The following year it was decided to repeat the event for charity.

After a few years of only local significance, the event gradually grew in the 1990s, both in popularity and number of participants. The growth accelerated after the event was started to be mentioned in the official Edinburgh Hogmanay publicity material and got a boost when the Millennium edition was broadcast live by the BBC.[9]

Originally organised by locals and starting from the Moorings pub (now the Inchcolm), factors such as increased crowds, safety issues and popularity necessitated a different handling. As a consequence, the events 2009 onwards were professionally handled by event managers Unique Events.[10] Being the organisers of the Edinburgh Hogmanay Festival, they included the Loony Dook into the latter from 2011.[11] In the same year a registration fee was introduced to cover the cost of organisation and stewarding. The fee of originally £6 was raised to £10 in 2016.[12] This went up to £12 in 2020, attracting criticism from the event's founders, who described it as a "damned disgrace".[13]

The proceeds benefit RNLI Queensferry and local charities.[14]

The Loony Dook received sponsorship from the tour company Haggis Adventures (from 2011)[15] and then from the porridge company Stoats.

Up to 2016, three of the original Dookers, James MacKenzie, Keith 'Rambo' Armstrong and Kenny Ross, have the distinction of taking part in every Loony Dook and the trio wore specially designed T-shirts with 30yrs to celebrate the achievement.[16]

Other Loony Dooks[edit]

The event has inspired similar annual New Year's day Loony Dooks, such as in North Berwick and Dunbar in East Lothian, Portobello in Edinburgh, St Andrews, Dalgety Bay and Kirkcaldy in Fife and Coldingham Sands in Berwickshire all of which are on the south east coast of Scotland.[17][18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Stoats Loony Dook – brought to you by the Porridge Pioneers". EdinburghHogmanay.com. 1 January 2016. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Stoats Loony Dook". EdinburghGuide.com. 19 July 2017.
  3. ^ "How the Loony Dook became a Scottish New Year tradition". Johnston Publishing Ltd. 28 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Stoats Loony Dook". EdinburghGuide.com. 19 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Edinburgh Lord Provost in Loony Dook Challenge". Herald Scotland. 27 December 2014.
  6. ^ "You'd be barking to splash out £6 on the Loony Dook!". Johnston Publishing Ltd. 27 October 2010.
  7. ^ "Loony Dook to turn 30". Edinburgh.gov.uk. 10 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Loony Dookers take the icy plunge". BBC News. 1 January 2009.
  9. ^ "How the Loony Dook became a Scottish New Year tradition". Johnston Publishing Ltd. 28 December 2016.
  10. ^ "How the Loony Dook became a Scottish New Year tradition". Johnston Publishing Ltd. 28 December 2016.
  11. ^ "How the Loony Dook became a Scottish New Year tradition". Johnston Publishing Ltd. 28 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Stoats Loony Dook". EdinburghGuide.com. 19 July 2017.
  13. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-50998324. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ "How the Loony Dook became a Scottish New Year tradition". Johnston Publishing Ltd. 28 December 2016.
  15. ^ "You'd be barking to splash out £6 on the Loony Dook!". Johnston Publishing Ltd. 27 October 2010.
  16. ^ "Friends celebrate 30th time participating in South Queensferry Loony Dook". Linlithgow Gazette. 5 January 2016.
  17. ^ "In pictures: Loony Dook 2011 – North Berwick". BBC News Scotland. 2 January 2011.
  18. ^ "Langtoun Loonies – Kirkcaldy's fundraising for Breast Cancer, Scotland". www.justgiving.com. 1 January 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°59′34″N 3°23′12″W / 55.99278°N 3.38667°W / 55.99278; -3.38667