Loony Dook

New Year’s Day is a strange holiday, with fewer fixed traditions than most. It seems that January 1st is a kind of “anything goes” festival where people celebrate the start of a new year in whatever way they deem best.

In my country, so many tend to lounge around at home and watch football, but in Edinburgh, they go swimming!  That’s right—swimming on January 1st, when the air temperature hovers around 5°C (41°F) and with the wind chill, drops down to about – 1°C (31°F). The water temperature in the Firth of Forth is only slightly warmer.

For nearly 30 years, the Loony Dook has taken place in Queensferry, Scotland. Founded by town locals who thought it a “good hangover cure,” the New Year’s Day cold water dip has swelled in popularity, with over 1,100 registered swimmers this year from around the world.

And did I join in with that number and swim?—Alas no, as I couldn’t exactly swim AND take pictures of the event. Maybe next year . . .