It takes a certain kind of nuttiness to want to take a splash in the icy Firth of Forth on New Year's Day. But up until now at least you weren't charged for it. For the first time, on New Year's Day revellers will be charged a £6 fee for the privilege of joining in the Loony Dook.
The Loony Dook celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year, by becoming part of the programme of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, organised by Unique Events. At the same time, it is also introducing the "admission fee".
Up to 1,000 people are still expected to take up the challenge.
The Loony Dook started with a handful of swimmers in 1987 and has grown in popularity every year until in 2010 around 1000 bathers braved the chilly waters of the Forth on New Years Day, watched by over 3000 spectators. Many who take part do it for charity.
However, until even a few weeks ago the Loony Dook event web site suggested that it might not go ahead due to the costs involved in putting it on.
"It is true to say that the huge international popularity of the event has meant that we have become a victim of our own success," said local Loony Dook spokesperson, David Steel, "but with the expertise which Unique brings to the table we can ensure that The Loony Dook will not only survive but will undoubtedly thrive.”
The annual New Year’s Day dip in the River Forth starts off in 2011 with a Grand Parade through South Queensferry featuring pipers and other entertainment, followed by the Loony Dooking. For those not quite brave enough to take the plunge, there are plenty of vantage points to watch the action and spectators are welcomed.
This year, for the first time, the Loony Dook will be sponsored by tour company Haggis Adventures.
Participants must enter in advance to take part in the Loony Dook. Entry details and a £6 registration fee can be submitted at all Edinburgh’s Hogmanay ticket outlets from Tuesday 9 November 2010.
Proceeds from event registration will be donated to the RNLI South Queensferry, who have always been highly supportive of the event.
Entry closes Thursday 30 December 2010 with no late entries available on the day.
Lord Provost George Grubb said: “As a local councillor for South Queensferry, I have braved many a bitter New Year’s Day to witness – and, on two occasions, join! - the hardy souls plunging into the Forth for the Loony Dook. It’s a great event with a terrific atmosphere and I’m delighted to see it become part of the official Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme this year.”
The Loony Dook is the first in a new programme of events for New Years Day, full details of which will be announced on Tuesday 9 November.
The event joins a packed programme over the four days of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay from 30 December to 2 January which includes the Torchlight Procession, the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party featuring the Concert in the Gardens with Biffy Clyro and The Charlatans and the traditional outdoor ceilidh event ‘The Keilidh’.