The History of the Loony Dook

5th November

A more recent Hogmanay tradition is the Loony Dook, an annual event held on New Year's Day, in which people (often in fancy dress) wade into the the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth at South Queensferry, against the backdrop of the Forth bridge. Why? You may ask. Here you'll find out.

The tradition was first conceived in a pub during the Christmas of 1986 by a group of locals as a novel way to cure their inevitable Hogmanay hangovers. So, on the 1st of January 1987, a small handful of brave souls, including Jim MacKenzie and Iain Armstrong who have since completed over 25 consecutive Loony Dooks, launched themselves into the Firth of Forth. The Loony Dook was born. 

After a few years of only local significance, the event gradually grew in popularity and numbers throughout the 1990s, with the biggest boost coming when the Millennium edition was broadcast live by the BBC.

Nowadays, the event welcomes thousands of people from all around the world to participate and spectate. Dookers march down South Queensferry High Street led by drummers and bagpipers, before braving the chilly water!  

£1 from every ticket purchased is donated to the RNLI, who volunteer every year to keep the Dookers safe.

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