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Monday, 1 January, 2001, 15:52 GMT
Die hard swimmers go Forth
Loony Dookers
The cold water failed to deter the Loony Dookers
A small army of die hard swimmers has taken to the icy waters to raise money for charity.

More than 80 hardy souls took part in the New Year Loony Dook in the Firth of Forth, near Edinburgh.

The swim has become an annual part of the Scottish capital's festivities and swimmers aged from six to 70 dived in to celebrate.

Two Loony Dookers leave the water
Two swimmers get into the spirit of the event
Joint organiser David Steel said he was pleased with this year's turnout.

He said: "We had around 400 or 500 people watching this year. That is what makes all the difference to the swimmers."

The cash target for this year's event was about 5,000 and over the last 14 years, since it was inaugurated, the swim has raised 40,000 for groups including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Swimmers wearing fancy dress, including a sombrero and an American footballer's outfit, took a dip.

Usual challenge

The number was down on last year, when a record 150 people took part in a special millennium swim.

However, Mr Steel, who organises the event with landlady Ruth Usher, said the atmosphere was as good as ever and the swim provided its usual challenge.

"It's not so much the temperature of the water as what it is like when you come out," he said.

"We're very grateful to the Queensferry Arms, who provide us with hot soup - and hot toddies. The swimmers need warming up."

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01 Jan 01 | Scotland
Edinburgh's Hogmanay in pictures
01 Jan 01 | Scotland
Praise for Hogmanay revellers
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