The Loony Dook: Swimmers in Costumes Brave the Firth of Forth in Scotland

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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 in Scotland.

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 Loony Dook: Swimmers in Costumes Brave the Firth of Forth in Scotland. 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?

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

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Abdul Razzak

    This is really an exciting post to read. Wonderful snaps captured which tells most of the story about your experience and journey. Thanks!

  2. says: Beth

    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!

    1. says: Audrey

      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. πŸ˜‰

  3. says: Sofie

    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:)

    1. says: Audrey

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

  4. 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? πŸ˜€ Btw, those animal onesies are seriously everywhere.

  5. says: Lily La

    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?

  6. says: Meg

    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!

    1. says: Audrey

      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. πŸ˜‰

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