The Big Dook The First of January 2018

On ‘Neer’ Day 2018 we witnessed a custom dating back to 1891. The tradition began with the fisher folk of Broughty Ferry who bathed everyday in the waters of the Tay except on the Sabbath. The New Year’s Day Dook has never been cancelled, not even in 1989 when they had to break the ice in the harbour with pick axes.

Broughty Ferry Castle and Harbour

Around 3,000 people had gathered to witness 200 bathers take the plunge. The temperature was a mere 2 degrees and just standing to watch was an exercise in endurance.

The winning entry in the fancy dress parade - jellyfish

There was a carnival atmosphere surrounding the event, enhanced by several fairground attractions, a fancy dress parade and a pipe-band.

Fairground Ride

The Tannoy went silent as the Boys Brigade Pipe Band Struck up. At the same time the swimmers made their way to the slipway - the entrance point for the Big Dook.

The Boys Brigade Band

At 2:00pm precisely the klaxon sounded and the those who had paid to take the plunge entered the water. Thankfully no one found the shock to the system too great.

The first to take the plunge

Some swam the length of the harbour, some halfway, while others appeared to dip their toes in and then retreated back up to dry ground.

Santa Swimmers

Various rescue craft were on hand in case needed. Thankfully no dooker or spectator had to be rescued from the chilly waters of the harbour.

Several of the participants were being sponsored and almost unbelievably one man was wearing a kilt - heavy enough without being fully immersed in water.

One fully dooked kilt clad man

As soon as the event was over it was time to head for a warming cup of coffee in order to thaw us out - and we were only spectators.

Some of the crowd dispersing along the beach

January the first coincided with the full moon. This particular full moon is known as the Wolf Moon. We found ourselves wondering if there was any connection between the taking the plunge and this full moon. Were they loony dookers?.

The so called Wolf Moon
Created By
Ursula and Alan Millar

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