Loony Dookers get 2015 off to a splash

Picture: HeMedia
Picture: HeMedia
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A THOUSAND revellers braved pouring rain and the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth for the annual Loony Dook event.

Scotland’s biggest New Year’s Day dip saw a colourful fancy dress parade and samba band wind its way through South Queensferry before the participants - led by Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Donald Wilson - dashed into the water against the backdrop of the Forth Bridge.

Picture: HeMedia

Picture: HeMedia

Thousands of locals lined the streets and the walls of the town’s harbour to enjoy the spectacle, which predates the capital’s Hogmanay festival having first been held in 1987.

Dookers from all over the world shrugged off the downpours to don skimpy mankinis costumes, colourful bikinis and themed fancy dress outfits.

Kilted Australian James Scrimgeour, 20, from Perth, said: “I only heard about this event when the tour I was on arrived in Edinburgh and someone else wasn’t able to use their ticket.

“I thought it just sounded like one of those things you had to experience.

“It felt like a bit of unity think, with people from all over the world coming together to express gratitude for the great time we’ve had in Edinburgh over the last few days.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you do, you get to experience it together.”

New Yorker Hammad N’Cho said: “It was a completely crazy event, it was really kind of cold in there, but everybody was having a hell of a lot of fun.

“I’m here as part of my first ever trip to Europe. They certainly don’t have events like this at home.”

Laura Aird, a veterinary nurse from the Isle of Harris, one of four friends taking a dip together, said: “We decided we wanted to something really Scottish together to start the new year.

“I’m used to swimming in the sea, but it was a bit scary walking along in the parade and it was absolutely freezing in there - it definitely felt a lot warmer walking about in the rain afterwards.

“But we all loved it and we’d definitely do it again. It feels like we’ve started a new tradition together.”

Will Kett, 23, a physio from Melbourne, Australia, said: “I thought the whole event was really cool, it’s just so different to what we would do back home.”

Loch Lomond, St Andrews in Fife, Broughty Ferry in Tayside and Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway were among the other locations where hardy revellers plunged into the sea.