The Loony Dook – South Queensferry, Scotland - Atlas Obscura
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South Queensferry, Scotland

The Loony Dook

Every New Year's Day, locals don gaudy costumes and dive into the frigid Firth of Forth.  

Scotland is famous for its New Year’s celebrations, complete with epic Hogmanay parties, dancing, fireworks, and often, drinking. Though not as famous as the main Hogmanay festivities, the Loony Dook tradition was jokingly hatched as a plan to cure any New Year’s Day hangovers.

In 1986, three South Queensferry locals suggested in the pub that jumping into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth on New Year’s Day might be the radical hangover cure they were looking for. They dove into the frigid river, though whether it actually relieved their symptoms is unclear.

The swim was repeated the following year as a charity event, and there was no shortage of eager participants wanting to take part and don ridiculous fancy dress before plunging into the cold water. It has grown into a spectacular event, with all manner of costumes and groups leaping into the water on New Year’s Day while agog spectators salute their foolhardy bravery against the backdrop of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge.

The Loony Dookh has inspired similar events in other towns such as North Berwick, Kirkcaldy, and Dalgety Bay. 

Know Before You Go

Should you wish to take part and join in the madness you will have to register. Registrations start in September.

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