The 2013 Loony Dook, Scotland's answer to the polar bear plunge, took place on January 1, 2013. The annual event sold out in mid-December, according to the South Queensferry website, and brings around 1,100 stark raving mad swimmers with or without costumes to plunge into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth on New Year's Day.
Judging from the photographs, many weren't quite expecting it to be quite so cold — some cities in Scotland reportedly canceled Hogmanay gathers due to the biting cold this year — but the grimaces and shrieks are part of the fun. Costumes ranged from a bunch of clowns to nuns and even a man dressed as a baby with two swimmers wearing Duke and Duchess of Cambridge masks.
According to the BBC, the event started with a pipe band marching the swimmers down to the estuary, and whether a “dooker” went ankle-deep or underwater was fully up to the participant. The £7.00 registration fee included a donation to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, with the rest going towards organizational costs and charity.
RNLI rescuers were on hand to retrieve anyone overcome, and a large crowd gathered on the coastal side of Edinburgh to watch the goings-on. What started as a few friends doing something to kill a New Year's hangover in 1987 has evolved into a full-blown fundraiser and an official part of Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations.
To get the latest Seasonal Trends updates, subscribe to this column here, or view it in your feed reader. Scroll down for more articles and to comment. Linda Gentile covers the circle of the year from the standpoint of its holidays, seasons and “times.”