Intrepid dookers at Broughty and Carnoustie

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THE BIGGEST New Year Dook in the local area - and probably even the biggest in Scotland - the event organised by Ye Amphibious Ancients’ Bathing Association, on Sunday led 314 hardy souls to take a dip in the River Tay at Broughty Ferry harbour.

And several of those who took part enjoyed the experience so much that they journeyed along the coast to Arbroath to have a second go there. They included Graham Matthew, Montrose, and his 11-year-old son, Greig, and Dundee woman Barbara Brown.

The organisers were delighted with the turnout and with the way the dookers showed their enthusiasm for the event.

The dook was started by Dundee Lord Provost John Letford who offered swimmers the return of their £10 entry fee if they stayed in the water for 20 minutes. There were no takers!

One of the main organisers, Joyce McIntosh, told the Guide & Gazette: “For an event which took place at 10 o’clock in the morning the turnout was brilliant. The crowd had halved, to about 2,000, and we had 308 dookers. However, another six came through so that meant we had a total of 314, which is a record for us.

“The event has been running for 128 years and the only time it was called off was during the Second World War when the swimming championships were also discontinued. Touch wood, we have never had to cancel the dook.

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“The water temperature was about three degrees Celsius, so it wasn’t too bad.”

Joyce said that this year the club had produced its first official programme for the event and it had been well supported by all the Angus burghs as well as Broughty Ferry and Dundee.

She went on: “I think the most pleasing thing for us is that we have had people from London, Cuba and Canada taking part. We had live music, we had a public address system in operation, we had the Lord Provost and we had fancy dress competitions all of which contributed to make it a superb day.

“Hopefully by next week or the week after, and definitely by the end of January, we will have the ‘Dook’ form online at www.yaaba.org for the 2013 event and it will run for the whole year, giving people a better chance to plan if they want to take part.”

Joyce continued: “We had two safety boats in operation, manned by the boatmen who usually shepherd swimmers at the championships, four helpers on jetskis and an official first aid station.”

The 2013 event will probably take place at about 1.30 p.m. and the organisers expect a massive crowd of spectators and perhaps as much as a double entry compared to this year’s total.

Joyce concluded: “With other dooks appearing up and down the east coast we have to make sure that we are better than anyone else. It gives people the opportunity to raise money for us and to raise cash for their own charities.

The New Year dip organised by Carnoustie Rugby Club attracted 20 participants.

There was a traditional start to the event when club vice-president Pete Christie kicked a rugby ball into the water for the hardy dookers to chase.

Carnoustie councillor Brian Boyd went along to watch but was determined not to take part.

He told the Guide & Gazette: “It was great to see such a good turnout this year. Not only the ‘dookers’ but the very large number of spectators. This community event seems to grow in numbers every year. It was a good way of clearing away the cobwebs from the spoils of the evening before.

“The weather was kind for the spectators but I would have imagined the sea temperatures would be as cold as ever so well done to all who took part.

“This year there was a collection for Brooke’s Dream so I hope the spectators all helped towards this worthwhile cause

“Next year I hope to pop along again and watch these mad people chase the rugby ball into the sea - but don’t expect me to join in!”