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'Loonies' start new year with a splash

CROWDS of hardy dookers took the plunge as the New Year tradition of testing Scotland's icy waters attracted mad-cap revellers from around the world.

TAKING THE PLUNGE: People took part in events around the country.
TAKING THE PLUNGE: People took part in events around the country.

At South Queensferry, 1000 costume-clad revellers took part in the 27th annual Loony Dook, after Santa Claus, a T-rex and three nuns joined the parade heading towards the Forth.

After emerging from the water, Andrew Colin, of Texas, said: "It was absolutely awful but in a good way. The water takes your breath away and you think 'Oh my God what am I doing' but you soon get over it when it when you notice his much fun everyone is having."

Alex Simpson and Gordon Buchanan, both 49, were dressed as 1960s bathers.

Mr Buchanan, of Bo'ness, said: "We thought it would be a good fun thing to do and as we are kind of local, we thought we would come along. I was sensible last night because I didn't think going in with a hangover would be a good idea."

Mr Buchanan said: "It was his idea and I think after-wards we are going to be less good friends."

Stewart Bryan, from Victoria in Australia, said he and his daughter had travelled all the way across the world to take part in the dook.

The 49-year-old said: "We heard about it and thought it sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing."

Three sumo wrestlers from Birmingham said the plunge had been "epic" while a group of 15 "Things" from children's book Cat In The Hat pledged to continue raising funds for their chosen charity - Maggie's Cancer Care.

Revellers also turned out for the annual sponsored fancy dress waterski at Cameron House marina, on Loch Lomond and New Year's day dip at Rhu.

More than 60 people braved Stonehaven harbour yesterday to raise money for youngsters with cancer, while Musselburgh hosted its annual sprint.

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