Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Thursday, 1 January 2009

Loony Dookers take the icy plunge

Loony Dookers in 2008
Many of the Loony Dookers were in fancy dress costumes

About 600 hardy revellers have blown away the Hogmanay cobwebs by plunging into the icy waters of the River Forth.

The annual Loony Dook was started by two friends in 1987, and raises thousands of pounds for charity.

Dookers from across the world congregated in South Queensferry for the event, which attracted hundreds of spectators.

Many of the fearless dookers were wearing fancy dress costumes, thongs and "mankinis".

The first Loony Dook took place on 1 January 1987 from the Moorings Lounge in South Queensferry, where Andy Kerr and Jim Kilcullen were discussing what they could do to celebrate new year.

Mr Kilcullen suggested they jump in the Forth to clear their hangovers, and the Loony Dook was born.

Elvis, Wonderwoman and Bananaman were among the characters who took a dip this year.

It is cold. It feels like a million needles are piercing my body right now.
Andrew Gourley, Loony Dooker

Steve Paterson, 24, from Sydney, Australia, was in Edinburgh for the Hogmanay celebrations and decided to enter the dook after hearing about last year's swim from friends.

He ran into the river with an inflatable kangaroo strapped to his back.

He said: "I usually take a swim on New Year's Day but it's on the beach in Australia in 30 degrees sunshine.

"This is a bit different it was absolutely freezing and my feet have turned numb."

Also taking the plunge was a group of six girls dressed as pirates who have taken part for the third year running.

Clair Jenkins, 22, from Falkirk, said: "We just love it. It's become a part of our New Year now and we're definitely getting used to the shock of the cold water."

Growing popularity

Andrew Gourley, 25, was among a group of men from Bo'ness who jumped into the water wearing only gold thongs.

He said: "It is cold. It feels like a million needles are piercing my body right now.

"We just decided to do it for the banter and to get rid of the hangovers. We saw the gold thongs in a sale for 1 and that was our costume sorted."

David Steel, who organised the event, said there had been a record number of dookers.

He said: "I don't know how many registered officially but it's around 600 - our biggest ever number.

"I am delighted with all the characters taking part this year and the money they all raise for many different charities.

"I think it is getting more and more popular because word is spreading and it is in such an iconic spot under the bridges."

Print Sponsor

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