Dooking into 2012

2011 ended sedately – just me and Gareth and The Apartment on DVD, followed by the Edinburgh fireworks from the spare room window. We'd been looking forward to a New Year's Eve party but since we'd been miserable snot monsters over the Christmas period, we didn't want to subject our pals to the dregs of it. I think the quiet (and sober) night really helped and I woke up today feeling so much better.

A few weeks ago the most excellent Tor, an Up & Runner, told me she was doing the Loony Dook. I'd first read about the Dook in a 2004 Sunday Herald article called 100 Things To Do In Scotland Before You Die. I kept the clipping and it's been a tip top source of ideas for exploring the country ever since. From the article:

#53. Do the Loony Dook
In Pamplona, Spanish revellers drink all night before attempting to outrun death and a great big bull. In Scotland the closest we have is the Loony Dook – jumping into the freezing Firth of Forth from the boathouse steps in South Queensferry on New Year's Day. For your goose-pimpling efforts you get a towel, a t-shirt and a pipe band parade through the town*. And probably pneumonia.

* These days you get a swimming cap instead of a towel and t-shirt!

Tor is a very persuasive woman with special voodoo powers that somehow get you doing things you never thought you'd ever do, so I signed up too.

I'd felt so rubbish this past week I'd been thinking I might wuss out. I didn't help the cause by sleeping in til 9.30AM then laying there for another fifteen minutes pondering, should I get up? What will I wear? Why didn't I organise a fancy costume? Can I even get there in time? Icy water or toasty sleep?


Then I thought about how I'd feel if I didn't go. I decided I'd feel like a wuss, and a great murky shadow of wussiness would be cast over my entire 2012. Did I really want to wuss up the year before I'd even got out of bed?

I threw on some trackies, a cycling top and my oldest trainers. I stuffed some Post-Dook clothes into my backpack and pulled a piece of tinsel from the Christmas tree to wrap around my hat to serve as a very rubbish costume.

Halfway across the Forth Road Bridge I realised I'd left my ticket at home. Cue rant at poor Gareth: "Just bloody FORGET IT. Turn the car around! 2012 stinks! This idea was STUPID anyway" etc etc. But we made it in time and the nice lady accepted my email-confirmation-on-phone as my ticket (thanks Tor for thinking of that, my brain was still snoozing!).

There were about 1000 Dookers and they'd made a lot of effort with their costumes (some great pics here). Zombies, nuns, pandas, Smurfs, men in bikinis, cowboys. Just like Halloween but with more shivering.

We all paraded down the South Queensferry high street, then down the steps onto the stony beach, then into the Firth of Forth with the beautiful Forth Rail Bridge as a backdrop.

As promised, the water really was bloody freezing. This seemed to surprise a nearby guy in tiny shorts and an Aussie flag tattoo who bellowed, "JOISUS CHROIST IT'S FARKIN FREEZIN!".

It was almost painful at first, then the legs went numb, then it became strangely thrilling. It was a gorgeous day – clear skies in January? What are the chances? And such a bonkers thing to do – setting an awesome tone for a new year.

Afterwards I found Gareth and discovered I'd stuffed two jackets and no trousers into my backpack, so we went straight home. Must sharpen organising skills in 2012.

Next stop was a hot shower followed by a bacon sarnie.

The Loony Dookers use the splash as a great excuse raise money for all sorts of charities. I'm making a donation to Fife Young Carers, a local charity that supports young carers throughout the region. They rule!



37 thoughts on “Dooking into 2012

  1. Wow Shauna, what an amazing start to 2012! Sounds insane but incredible. After my utter fail with running last year (sorry! My head was elsewhere following all that hideous work and health stuff) I am trying to convince myself to sign up for the Edinburgh half Moonwalk. Wishing you all the best for 2012!

  2. Awesome, Shauna! I’ve always wanted to do that too. I’m glad you stuck it out. What a way to start the new year!

  3. Cheers Kate! πŸ™‚

    Alice, all the best to you too comrade! Let us know if you decide to do the Moonwalk, would love to meet up?

  4. You never fail to entertain Ms Shauna!!!

    It’s on my list of crazy things to do.

    I think I’m going to cross it off next year…

    Fancy another attempt of the whole Hogsmany Street Party??

  5. We have the same thing here in the States only it’s called the Polar Bear Plunge. Very cold but very fun!

  6. cheers for your comments folks!

    Susand! *pounce* so good to see you! Happy new year comrade!

    Same to you Kelly, hope 2012 is a goodun πŸ™‚

    happy new year shauntay!

    ali – i am too grumpy for the street party but defo up for the dook again! πŸ™‚

  7. You are one brave Scotswoman ( I gather by this point you are officially a Scot).
    And one nut job…after being all snotty I can’t believe you dooked it.
    You go girl.
    Feel well, be warm and Happy 2012 to my favorite Scot.

  8. As someone who moved halfway across the country to avoid snow or ice during the winter, there is no way in hell I’d do this, even if hell was freezing over πŸ™‚ Big props to you!

  9. Ooh, Shauna, that is so awesome!! Much more exciting and adventurous than my lunch at Qdoba with the hubster. Cheers and happy new year to you! xoxo

  10. I think I’d have picked the toasty bed! Course I’m really old–celebrated Birthday #61 today–so bed is the option I’m going to pick over freezing my body in cold water in January for the REST OF MY LIFE!

  11. You ROCK! Have a lovely and warm 2012 you silly girl :). And here I was thinking I was hardcore for sitting a couple of hours in an unheated office… πŸ˜‰
    (the heater broke)

  12. I swear to god the pool at our Gold Coast hotel had water about the same temp, so I guess I could say I did my own version here in Aus on New Year’s day. I have NEVER experienced water that cold – not even in the height of Winter.

    I laughed at the last pic (in the link you gave), it pretty much summed up how I was imagining you in the water. Good on you for turning up and doing it!

  13. What a crazy-ass thing to do! Good for you. Love the pics.

    @Jennette: someone has misrepresented your new home’s winter climate to you! But, I suppose it’s all relative…

  14. I was there! But only watching πŸ™‚ thinking about doing it next year as it looked like fun (in an insane way!) well done Shauna πŸ˜€

  15. My husband and girls swim at an INDOOR HEATED POOL during the winter and I am too much of a shivering wimp to get in with them.

    In the summer, at our outdoor HEATED pool, if it isn’t ‘could add veggies and make soup’ warm, then I am shivering.

    So hats off to you in following through with this event.

    And I remember reading an American Indian’s story where they would cut holes in the ice and put children (sick with severe respiratory illnesses) in the freezing water. They held them in there. I am not sure if it would have been to break fevers or what, but I remember that practice.

  16. I am seriously in awe (and hey…that was my word for 2011) of you!! And a Loony Dook sounds SO much more fun than a “Polar Bear Plunge” which is what they call it around here.

  17. I was probably snoozing away here in the good old US of A while you were plunging into the freezing waters. No matter how cold it gets here this winter (a high of 26 for tomorrow) I WILL NOT complain. I will just think of you. Way to go, Shauna!

  18. Happy 2012 Shauna! We had a bit of a silly (but good silly) New Year’s Eve so I was in no fit state to be anywhere in the morning but I would love to see the Dook one day (not sure I’m brave enough to take part!)

  19. too grumpy for the street party!?!
    You…. Never!

    We could always go north and play with burning balls of fire… that might be more entertaining, not to mention way more dangerous!


  20. What a wonderful way to start the year! Well, I say that in the comfortable knowledge that I don’t live in Scotland and can’t be coerced into doing it myself one day.

    And an ace charity too. πŸ™‚

  21. I think you are crazy..
    But congratulations πŸ˜€

    Was falling about laughoing at the line about 2 jackets and organisations skills πŸ˜€

    Can now take it off your to do list :d

    Happy 2012 πŸ˜€ May it be brilliant

  22. Excellent job!! That sounds like such a fun thing to do! And LOL @2 jackets, 0 trousers…. πŸ™‚

  23. belated happy new year shauna (I am already behind in 2012) – great way to start the year – I remember the loony dook from when I lived in Edinburgh but unfortunately it was my boss from hell that used to do it – still sounded like fun if only she was nowhere to be seen. Hope 2012 is a good one and you keep yourself warm

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