Yes...I Am DAFT Enough For The Mad Dooking In The Firth Of Forth!

South Queensferry Travel Blog

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New Year's Day Morning
While planning for this trip, my internet research came upon a New Year's Day event that has grown into a local tradition...the Loony Dook...an annual splash in the River Forth in the shadow of the world-famous Forth Bridge with fancy dress strongly encouraged. So prior to leaving for Europe, I had convinced Mar to participate in the event with me because well hell, when are we ever going to do it again right?

New Year's Day morning's dim gray light filtered through our room window and I found myself fully amped up for the Loony Dook event. My Loony Dook outfit consisted of a swimsuit, kitschy plastic Hawaiian-esque lei, no name brand blue water booties (the one's Mar had left in LA after our failed attempt to go river rafting during our cross country road trip in 2006).
Couchsurfers!
And to add a bit of Scottish flare, I purchased a beach towel emblazoned with the Saltire (aka the national flag of Scotland) yesterday during the boys' shopping spree. Additionally, I wore convertible pants, a t-shirt, and my thick fleece jacket.  

Apparently some of the Couchsurfers we met in the wee hours of this morning were going to the Loony Dook as well. Tabi was so on point for the Hogmanay festivities that she posted a meeting place and time on the Couchsurfing message boards to  inform all the Couchsurfers heading to South Queensferry from Edinburgh.
The base camp for the Loony Dook
She even sent Mar and I a map via Google Maps so that we could find our way to the meeting place from our hostel. We were to meet Tabi and the rest of the daft Couchsurfers at 10am at the bus stop on Queensferry Street so that we can catch the 43 bus which leaves at 10.20am.

The boys were still sound asleep when Mar and I left the warm comfort of the hostel and into the brisk cold of the city. The bus stop was roughly a mile away from our hostel so it didn't take long for us to get there. We waited about under the cover of the bus stop awning. A few minutes later, we see a large group of people headed in our direction...some colorfully fancy dressed. Their leader was a red head dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz...it was Tabi and the Couchsurfers! We huddled close together at the bus stop to keep warm with all our body heat.
Walking in the parade on South Queensferry's High Street
Tabi roamed through the crowd making sure we each had enough cash for the bus fare.

When the bus arrived at the stop, we all piled on...it seemed as if the entire passenger list were Couchsurfers but I am sure there were others on board as this was the only scheduled bus leaving Edinburgh for South Queensferry today. The bus ride to South Queensferry took about 15 minutes and dropped us off near the police station on Hopetoun Road. The bus stop was a short walk away to the 22nd Loony Dook grand parade meeting place... The Moorings Pub at 24-26 Hopetoun Road, South Queensferry.

The Moorings Pub was packed to the gills with people...young and old, local or visitor, sober or drunk, fancy dressed or not...we all had to be just a tad bit loony, mad, brave, and daft to take a refreshing dook (swim or dunk) in the frigid Forth.
That guy must have been really cold!
In the pub's back room, the other Couchsurfers were stashing their spare change of clothes and getting ready for the Loony Dook. Yes I wanted to be DAFT and just wear my bathing suit for the dook but I decided to add an extra layer for warmth so I unzipped off my pant bottoms thus making them shorts. I was hesitant to leave my backpack unattended but ended up leaving it hidden under other Couchsurfers' stuff. Besides I had plenty of pocket space left to store my cash on me.

The Loony Dook parade was to start at 11am so the entire Couchsurfing group loitered about the Moorings parking lot anxiously waiting for the antics to begin. Every minute of waiting, I was getting more and more cold. Even huddling close together with the other Couchsurfers did little to warm me up. But others around were seemingly more frozen than me because they were far less dressed in their thong bikinis  and nuthuggers.
The Scottish version of the Pied Piper
 

As soon as the bagpiper started playing the crowd was in a roar of excitement because we all knew that the grand parade was just about to begin. Masses of loony, mad, brave, drunk, and daft people followed the sound of the bagpipes through South Queensferry's High Street as if the bagpipe musician was the Pied Piper. In addition to the Loony Dook participants, the parade route was was lined with loads of fully clothed spectators cheering us on to our inevitable fates.

The final leg of the parade route was down a stone stairway. Looking down from atop stairway was an amazing sight...so many people were gathered here to welcome in the New Year with this crazy local tradition and I was in the thick of it all...it was great! The stone staircase led us down to the shoreline which was rocky and very uneven.
The Loony Dook Grand Parade
We, Couchsurfers, gathered together as some were separated from the group during the parade.

Once together, and with a flurry, we made a mad dash to the River Forth trying not to trip over each others feet or the many jagged rocks on the shoreline. The other Couchsurfers ran with reckless abandon into the frigid waters. I sort of eased my way into the water. The Forth was instantaneously numbing my lower extremities. Mar took her boots off at the very edge, stepped into the water, and quickly stepped back as she didn't want to wade into the rocky riverbed without foot protection. We were forewarned that the rocks are jagged and that there may be broken glass. I gave my Scottish flag towel to Mar so she can keep it dry.

I waded further out into the Forth joining the very loony and very daft Couchsurfing crew of which some were already at it with a water splashing fight.
Me and the masses getting hyped up for the Loony Dook 2008
Tabi wailed like a banshee after dunking her entire body into the freezing cold waters. Jotikas followed suit. I was only planning to wade in waist deep and keep my upper body dry. But after watching the others, I decided to get dooked! After immersing myself into the frigid Forth, I shrieked like a banshee too! It was such an adrenaline rush! We splash around for a brief bit longer before heading back to shore to dry off.

Out of the water, we reveled in the fact that we just participated in the Loony Dook. Talk about when in Rome do as the Romans do...right?!? I laughed at the comical fancy dress of other Loony Dookers...a mermaid, an ape, a tiger in pink Speedos, several girls dressed as Playboy bunnies, a bikini-clad Santa, and a trio of elderly men dressed as babies with soggy diapers and pacifiers!

For more pictures, check out http://www.
Couchsurfers getting dooked in the River Forth (btw that is my forehead at the bottom left corner of the pic)!
theloonydook.co.uk
under the 2008 link!

We all were thoroughly chilled to the bone so we hightailed it back to The Moorings Pub. Another Loony Dook tradition is to partake in the hot soup and hot toddy provided by the pub owners. The soup, though merely broth, was a much needed treat. The hot toddy, apple cider spiked with most likely whisky and flavored with spices, was way too strong so I sipped it very very slowly. Me and the rest of the Couchsurfing crew warmed up in the back room of the pub. Since my clothes were made of quick dry materials, I was pretty much dry before I even finished my hot toddy!

One of the other Couchsurfers probably had too much fun at Hogmanay last night because she had forgotten to pack a dry change of clothes. I offered up my dry pant legs so her lower extremities wouldn't  freeze.
Scottish at heart!
Another Couchsurfer ran to the bar and fortunately borrowed their roll of duct tape. It was totally hilarious this girl holding up the pant legs while another was taping them to her thighs. Funny as it looked, the pant legs helped warm her up.

We continued to rest up in the pub while we waited for the return bus to Edinburgh. We were all engrossed in conversation when I do not recall who but someone had offered up snack bags of crisps, that's potato chips, to the entire Couchsurfing crew. It is purely amazing the act of sharing...it truly warms the soul! While the rowdy bunch of us were enjoying our crisps, the Scottish Pied Piper entered the back room of the pub and played us several tunes on the bagpipe...the music was wonderful but boy those pipes were LOUD!!!

To be on the safe side, the Couchsurfing Crew headed to the bus stop early and we waited around for the 1348 bus.
I think these dooked blokes need a changing!
There was only two bus services from South Queensferry back to Edinburgh today...the 1348 or the 1518. In all honesty, I was on the verge of exhaustion so I really wanted to get on that first bus. Once again Tabi checked to make sure we each had enough for the return bus fare. Fortunately, we all made it aboard the bus and we were back in Edinburgh in minutes.

As Mar and I disembarked the bus, we quickly bid our newfound Couchsurfing friends goodbye and I got my pant legs back. We trudged back to our hostel in a light drizzle. After a nice long hot shower I fell into deep sleep and it was only like 2 or 3 in the afternoon! Too tired and cold to head back onto the streets of Edinburgh, Mar and I chilled at the hostel and watched a movie on their huge flat screen. Besides, we had to get ourselves travel-ready for tomorrow's flight to Dublin, Ireland!








gruss says:
He He, well done, Iv'e thought about doing this, but then sense prevails lol :-)
Posted on: Nov 20, 2011
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New Years Day Morning
New Year's Day Morning
Couchsurfers!
Couchsurfers!
The base camp for the Loony Dook
The base camp for the Loony Dook
Walking in the parade on South Que…
Walking in the parade on South Qu…
That guy must have been really col…
That guy must have been really co…
The Scottish version of the Pied P…
The Scottish version of the Pied …
The Loony Dook Grand Parade
The Loony Dook Grand Parade
Me and the masses getting hyped up…
Me and the masses getting hyped u…
Couchsurfers getting dooked in the…
Couchsurfers getting dooked in th…
Scottish at heart!
Scottish at heart!
I think these dooked blokes need a…
I think these dooked blokes need …
Yup we survived the Loony Dook!
Yup we survived the Loony Dook!
The Moorings Pub
The Moorings Pub
Just leaving The Moorings
Just leaving The Moorings
The 22nd Annual Loony Dook
The 22nd Annual Loony Dook
Tabi after the dook!
Tabi after the dook!
Cute half naked boys! :P
Cute half naked boys! :P
The Loony Dook was CRAZY!
The Loony Dook was CRAZY!
Parade participants waiting about …
Parade participants waiting about…
Creative costume!
Creative costume!
Fancy dress was encouraged!
Fancy dress was encouraged!
The parade route down High Street
The parade route down High Street
Mar was in the parade too!
Mar was in the parade too!
This is South Queensferry
This is South Queensferry
Bastian!
Bastian!
The frigid Forth awaits us!
The frigid Forth awaits us!
Getting dooked!
Getting dooked!
Let the dooking begin!
Let the dooking begin!
Those crazy Couchsurfers...
Those crazy Couchsurfers...
Right after the dook...brrrr!
Right after the dook...brrrr!
Splash fight!
Splash fight!
This is one crazy local tradition
This is one crazy local tradition
Fun in the Forth
Fun in the Forth
More Couchsurfers...I think...
More Couchsurfers...I think...
Spectators are everywhere
Spectators are everywhere
Walking back to The Moorings Pub
Walking back to The Moorings Pub
Couchsurfers after the Loony Dook!
Couchsurfers after the Loony Dook!
Me and Mar
Me and Mar
Waiting about at The Moorings
Waiting about at The Moorings
Loony Dook 2008
Loony Dook 2008
The parade participants
The parade participants
The craziest thing to do on New Ye…
The craziest thing to do on New Y…
Too funny!
Too funny!
Warming up at The Moorings Pub
Warming up at The Moorings Pub
Brrr....
Brrr....
The infamous pant legs and tape
The infamous pant legs and tape
Couchsurfers just chillaxin
Couchsurfers just chillaxin
Mar and Jotikas!
Mar and Jotikas!
Loony Dook at South Queensferry
Loony Dook at South Queensferry
Mar enjoying the Loony Dook!
Mar enjoying the Loony Dook!
South Queensferry
photo by: esvobod