Great time for a dip in the Forth

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Fancy a refreshing end to Christmas or start to 2014?

Then why not take part in one of the many Loony Dooks taking place around Fife?

Spectators cheer on a previous year's dookers at Kirkcaldy

Spectators cheer on a previous year's dookers at Kirkcaldy

There are a few to choose from and there’s still time to sign up, if you haven’t already done so.

Dooking involves running or jumping into the open sea, with some dooks seeing participants running into the water from beaches and others jumping from piers or harbour walls.

Most involve dookers dressing in fancy dress and all are done for charitable causes.

The Langtoun Loony Dook in Kirkcaldy began in 2007 when 15 brave dookers ran into the sea to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The 2014 event is expected to involve more than 100 people.

The amount of spectators cheering the participants into the water has also risen and those taking part say it gives them a boost to encourage them into the freezing water.

Although one particular charity is nominated each year, people can choose to raise funds for their own charity through sponsorship, and bucket collections usually take place on the day.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is this year’s charity for the Kirkcaldy dook, while the Kinghorn Dook, now in its third year, will raise funds for the village lifeboat station.

The 2014 Langtoun Loony Dook will take place from the Seafield picnic area instead of the beach at the Basin car park, due to work taking place on Kirkcaldy’s sea wall, and those taking part are asked to register from 11.30 a.m.

The Kinghorn Dook was started in 2012 by lifeboat shore crew member Mark Gowans, who thought Kinghorn should have its own dook for those not able or willing to travel to Kirkcaldy and also to raise funds for the local lifeboat station.

It too has grown in popularity over the years.

Safety guidelines from Ann Belton, organiser of the Langtoun Loony Dook:

KEEP yourself and others safe at all times.

DON’T go into the water under the influence of alcohol.

DON’T dive in without checking for obstacles first.

DO wear old trainers or something on your feet.

DO bring warm clothes to change into immediately after you come out of the water – a fluffy housecoat is ideal.

Where and when:

Leven: Boxing Day On the Prom at noon.

Anstruther: New Year’s Eve at Anstruther harbour at 1.00 p.m.

Kinghorn: New Year’s Day on beach in front of Kinghorn lifeboat station at 11.00 a.m.

Kirkcaldy: New Year’s Day at changed venue at Seafield picnic area at noon; registration from 11.30 a.m.