The Loony Dook!

by Audrey on January 4, 2014 · 23 comments

Like Halloween on steroids, the Loony Dook is the wackiest event I have ever attended. Because the three-day long Hogmanay celebrations aren’t enough for the Scots, on New Year’s Day, they tack on yet another event for those brave souls who want to fight their hangovers and raise money for charity – The Loony Dook!

At this year’s Loony Dook hundreds of people took the plunge into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth. Bundled up in my winter’s best, I watched from the pebbly shores as families and groups of friends ran in, splashed around in the water for a few brief seconds, and then raced back out to the shores with half-frozen extremities. The look on most faces was one of horror at realizing just how cold the Forth was, and joy to have actually braved the waters that few dare dip a finger in this time of year.

There were lots of great costumes at the event, including Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, a couple of minions inspired by the movie Despicable Me, a group of friends dressed as Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, Pebbles from The Flintstones, a few Santas, another group inspired by Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2, a man in a mankini, and also a gentleman who wrapped himself in bubble wrap and then began to float away.

Here are some fun photos from this strange event that takes some serious guts and perhaps a dash of madness!

The band leading Edinburgh's Loony Dook.

The wacky band leading the Loony Dook parade. 

Dr. Seuss inspired costumes at the Loony Dook.

A twist on Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Loony Dookers and a dinosaur ready to go into the Firth of Forth.

You can’t jump into the waters of the Firth of Forth without an inflatable dinosaur for protection.

Loony Dookers jumping into the freezing waters.

Lots of hooting and hollering as people realize just how cold the water is. 

Great costumes at Edinburgh's Loony Dook 2014.

Loony dookers race out of the water as soon as they have done a quick dip.

Tiger outfits at the Loony Dook in Edinburgh.

There was no Winnie the Pooh in sight, but I did spot several Tiggers.

Girls at the Loony Dook.

Two Haggis Adventurers take a dip in the frigid waters. 

Cow and giraffe at the Loony Dook.

Two friends dressed as a giraffe and a cow come splashing out of the water.

Mankini man at the Loony Dook.

And I think we can agree that these two win best outfit of the event.

Spectators at the Loony Dook.

Spectators all bundled up and laughing at the Loony Dookers.

Would you take a dip with the other loonies?

* * *

#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAGEventScotland,
Homecoming ScotlandVisitScotlandEdinburgh FestivalsMarketing EdinburghHistoric Scotland and
co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced by Unique Events.


{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

James Shannon January 4, 2014 at 10:54 am

It certainly makes the process of a polar bear swim less daunting and more entertaining!
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Abdul Razzak January 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm

This is really an exciting post to read. Wonderful snaps captured which tells most of the story about your experience and journey. Thanks!
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Dariece @GoatsOnTheRoad January 4, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I’m pretty disappointed that I didn’t get to see you and Sam dressed up in your Loony best! haha. That sounds like one of the most crazy events ever…and no, I wouldn’t have gone in the freezing cold water.

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Colleen Brynn January 4, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Ah, I totally thought you would have given this a go! I would have!!! Next time, I’ll splash around for you and Sam, and you guys can take photos of me, ha!
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northierthanthou January 4, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Looks like a lot of fun. …to watch!!!
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Kara January 5, 2014 at 8:22 am

Ha! That’s exactly what I was thinking!
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Beth January 5, 2014 at 4:15 am

Aww, did you not jump in?! Not sure I’d be willing to give it a go though either haha. I’d still love to go just to see all of the strange costumes!
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Audrey January 14, 2014 at 10:38 am

Nope! It didn’t help that I got sick soon after arriving in Scotland. I stood on the shores all bundled up and watched the action. 😉


Sofie January 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm

I would soooo not jump in:)
We have a New Year’s dip here in Belgium as well. It’s every year on January 1 and although it’s not tradition to dress up as something, some people do:)
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Audrey January 14, 2014 at 10:36 am

That sounds like fun! One of my friends also took the dip in the Netherlands, so I guess these events happen all over Europe. 😉


Ele January 5, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Haha looks hilarious! Love the costumes, good pics :)
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Agness January 6, 2014 at 3:57 am

I’ve never heard of it before, but it looks like so much fun. Aren’t these people COLD!? Brrrr
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Audrey January 14, 2014 at 10:35 am

I’m sure they were! Everyone was shivering on the shores as they tried to pull off their costumes and get into warm clothes.


Deia @ Nomad Wallet January 6, 2014 at 6:41 am

I love the costumes! Not so much the being wet and freezing outdoors, though. I take it that hiding behind the camera gave you a nice excuse not to partake? 😀 Btw, those animal onesies are seriously everywhere.
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Hogga January 7, 2014 at 12:26 am

i want that dinosaur!
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Lily La January 8, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I always wonder how people can actually brave things like this! They have a lot of ice swimming in Finland which I used to watch in awe. I can’t even handle being outside in the cold, let along in the freezing cold ocean. AWESOME costumes though – What would have dressed up as if you participated?
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Audrey January 14, 2014 at 10:34 am

Haha, I probably would have worn a kilt…when in Scotland! 😉


Meg January 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I took the dip! It was ALOT of fun and yes freezing cold! How did us crazies do it? No idea to be honest. The festival atmosphere before you walk through the town and down to the water helps distract you from your freezing toes and the soon to be felt freezing water. I would say a few people still had the warmth of the previous night’s beverages running through their veins, which would have helped. Highly recommend it!


Audrey January 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

Well done for taking the plunge! It was absolutely freezing that morning, but it was a lot of fun to watch the Loony Dookers jump into the water. 😉


Amanda January 9, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Aww, so disappointed that you didn’t jump in! 😉

Nice shots, though. Brings back memories from when I did it last year!
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Heather January 10, 2014 at 10:41 pm

I think I’d want to put on the Tigger onesie AFTER I came rushing out of the freezing water!
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Audrey January 14, 2014 at 10:31 am

Same! I bet those people are freezing coming out of the icy waters in wet clothes!


The Guy January 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm

These guys are crazy! But it looks like a lot of fun. There is no way I’m doing that in the winter, well not without my inflatable dinosaur 😉
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