Each year on the 1st January several hundred individuals jump into the ice-cold water at Scotland’s River Forth, with the backdrop of the iconic Forth Bridge. The tradition started 30 years ago, following a decision taken by locals to try and cure the hangovers of New Year’s Eve. As a result, Loony Dook has since become part of the city’s Hogmanay celebrations. Around 1500 men and women, often in fancy dress, take part in order to raise money for charity. The event takes its name from “Loony”, an abbreviation of lunatic, and the Scottish word “Dook” meaning to go for a dip.
Edinburgh has its own international Edinburgh Airport, with the Airlink bus service taking you into the heart of the city centre within half an hour. Those taking part in Loony Dook enter the water at Queensferry town, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Local bus companies however lay on a special New Year’s Day timetable to support the event, which picks up from the main bus station. There is a charge of £10 in advance to take part in Loony Dook, spectating is free. Check in time is normally 12.30pm, there is a parade at 2.30pm with the Loony Dook taking place shortly after.
If you are taking part book early as spaces are limited. It is also tradition to wear fancy dress, or as little as possible to embrace the cold water. As this is a charity event make sure you ask friends and family to sponsor you to help raise money. If you are watching then arrive in time to see the parade from the Hawes Promenade, following it down to the water edge close to the Queensferry Lifeboat Station. Those braving the water ensure you pack a warm change of clothes, spectators dress appropriately for the cold Scottish weather.
If you are planning to visit Edinburgh for Loony Dook, choose from a selection of houses and apartments, flats, Bed and Breakfasts and other private rentals in the city outskirts close to Queensferry. If you are staying in the city centre, there are extra buses laid on to reach the event. Check our accommodation in Edinburgh.
With the Loony Dook taking place on New Year’s Day there is plenty to do over the festive period. Edinburgh has Hogmanay celebrations all around the city, from torchlight processions to street parties and concerts. During your stay visit the impressive Edinburgh Castle, take a walk-through Holyrood Park and visit Arthur’s Seat for stunning views.
For further information on Loony Dook, including: taking part in Loony Dook and buying tickets, details on what to expect, the history and other important information, as well as FAQ, what else is on during Hogmanay, event information and links to bus timetables and social media, visit the official Edinburgh’s Hogmanay website.
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