Put up yer Dooks! Forth’s rival New Year plunges vie for willing loonies

The Loony Dook 2011 at South Queensferry
The Loony Dook 2011 at South Queensferry
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IT is set to be the duel of the dooks.

A rival to the famous New Year’s Day event in South Queensferry has emerged – on the other side of the Forth.

The Limekilns Breakfast Dip is expected to attract around 400 spectators on New Year’s Day to watch more than 50 “dippers” plunge into the icy waters.

Although taking place in a Fife village situated on the shore of the Firth of Forth, the event is attracting residents from the Lothians keen to try out their adventurous side in a more informal setting rather than the “cattle market” of the Loony Dook at South Queensferry.

The event has been organised by Limekilns resident Alex Hill, who was a regular Loony Dooker from 1998 to 2004.

Mr Hill, director of frozen foods company The Canny Cook – which supplies to Craigie’s Farm and Hopetoun House in South Queensferry – said: “The Loony Dook is far too big now so I thought why not have something local?

“We had our first one last year but this year it’s even bigger with about 50 people going in the water and about 400 people coming down to watch.”

The event will be raising money for children’s cancer charity Clic Sargent and it is hoped it will bring in around £10,000 for the charity.

Pete Irvine of Unique Events said: “Lots of people like to do something mad to start the new year and it’s great to find out that another Loony Dook is happening near Limekilns this New Year’s Day. Our Loony Dook at South Queensferry began over 25 years ago, it’s now the biggest New Year dip in Britain and raises thousands of pounds for charities. We wish Alex Hill and his fellow dookers a successful emersion on the first of January 2012.”

Karen Beggs, from Dalkeith, took part in the Limekilns Breakfast Dip last year and has signed up to do it again, along with her son Alasdair, 14, and partner Mike Anderson, from Musselburgh.

She said: “My son was really keen to do it last year.

“I was initially going to go along and watch but I thought if my son is going to do it, I couldn’t stand on the sidelines.

“I had always fancied doing the one at South Queensferry but it’s so commercial and more of a cattle market, whereas this one is more local and informal.

“It was surprisingly good fun last year and at least it’s not as cold this year.”