1,000 people take part in Forth '˜Loony Dook'
Thousands more people lined South Queensferry’s High Street and harbour to cheer on participants in the annual “Loony Dook,” one of the final events in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme.
Elvis, Batman, Superman, Princess Leia and Skippy the Kangaroo were among the characters stopping taking the plunge, along with the Loch Ness Monster and The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.
The event, which started out as a bizarre attempt by a group of locals to find a hangover cure, was first staged in 1987 but now draws participants from all over the world.
Tony Pirouet, 45, from Dunfermline, said he had spent around two months making his elaborate costume, which saw him cavorting inside an entire bathtub.
He said: “This is the fifth year in a row I’ve done the Loony Dook. I really just do it for fun. I was a bubble-wrap man a couple of years ago and then me and my mate came dressed as a couple of old ladies.
“Look at the stage of me. I got the bath at the local coup and it’s been a bit of an effort to make the outfit. It’s got chicken wire in the bottom of the bath, loads of string to hold it in and expanding builder’s foam. But it only took a couple of minutes to get inside it.”
Shiona Doig, from Aberdour, in Fife, was dressed as a Teletubby along with her husband and two brothers.
She said: “We chose this outfit because there are four Teletubbies and there are four of us. We came along dressed as the characters from The Wizard of Oz last year.
“The whole event is just genuinely good fun. It has also a really nice community spirit. It’s also something that you just don’t do for the other 364 days of the year.
“The water’s actually not the coldest bit - it’s the waiting beforehand.”
Maryanne Vanessa, 33, from Los Angeles, said: “I came to Edinburgh specially for new year with a friend and when we read about this event on the festival website we just thought: ‘why not?’
“We loved everything about the event - all the hype from the people in the parade and all the spectators helping you go in. But we’re from LA, so we don’t experience weather like this very often. My toes, back and mouth completely froze, but it was worth it.”
Indian visitors Dhruv Malhotre and his wife Richa were dressed as pirates as they took the plunge. He said: “We decided to come to Edinburgh for new year to do this event. When I read about Hogmanay the Loony Dook was the first thing I noticed. I just thought I had to do it.
“I loved the idea of so many people in fancy dress in the cold water welcoming the new year. I think everybody should come to Edinburgh and do the Loony Dook.”
Youth worker Kenny Solway, 55, from Granton, was part of a group of six friends dressed in Hawaii-inspired beach-wear despite the harsh South Queensferry climate.
“We’re all raising money for Erskine, the charity which runs care homes for war veterans.
“We’re dressed like beach boys to help make us imagine we are in Hawaii rather than here.”
Scott Amidy, 29, was among two bus loads of Australian tourists taking part in the event.
He said: “I’ve never been to Edinburgh before. I’m really just doing this for the story. I tend to do a lot of daft things just so I can tell people later. I was really keen to do the Loony Dook until this morning, but what can you do?
“I’ve been here for a few days and Edinburgh has been amazing. It’s the best city I’ve been to. I can’t wait to come back for a more sober weekend.”
Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Donald Wilson, who led the parade through South Queensferry before taking a dip himself, said: “The Loony Dook always has a great atmosphere and is a complete sell out yet again. It’s an exuberant celebration and an optimistic start to the year. Some of the costumes are certainly outlandish - I’d hate to have to judge them.”