Hundreds brave big chill for a New Year dip

HUNDREDS across Scotland braved the bitter conditions for the annual New Year's Day dip in the nation's beaches, rivers and lochs.

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Courageous souls immersed themselves in the cold waters of the Gareloch at Rhu Marina, Helensburgh, to swim for charity.

The annual event is organised to help raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

More than 1100 swimmers also took part in the Loony Dook Swim in the icy waters of the River Forth to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities across the UK.

The 'Dookers', many dressed up in costumes, were first led through the town in a parade by a pipe band before taking to the ice cold river.

All the places for the dip, which first started with a handful of swimmers in 1987 but has grown in popularity every year, had been snapped up and thousands of spectators crammed onto the beach at South Queensferry to watch the action.

Nearly 100 more took to the cold North Sea at Stonehaven to raise cash for a children's cancer charity.

The event got off to a late start as last minute entrants decided to dust off the festive cobwebs and register to run into the bitterly cold sea.

Hundreds of spectators gathered along the harbour walls to cheer on the brave swimmers as they dashed into the water.

Participants were given a nip of whisky to help warm them up after the midday dip.

And dozens took to Loch Ken, near Castle Douglas in Kirkcudbrightshire, for their annual New Year dip.

A record number, totalling more than 80, dived into the waters of south-west Scotland's biggest loch, many raising money for charity.


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