'We can't let the dook die after 130 years of winter wading'

Every New Year’s Day since 1891, people have braved the chilly River Tay at Broughty Ferry.

Since the 19th century, people have been plunging into the wintry waters of the River Tay to see in the new year.

But at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Broughty Ferry’s New Year’s Day ‘dook’ was cancelled for the first time in its history – then only 53 people turned up last year.

A campaign has now been launched to encourage people back to the historic event.

Joyce McIntosh, from the Ye Amphibious Ancients Bathing Association, told STV News: “We’re hoping to get 200-plus back again. When people haven’t been doing the norm for a couple of years, you get out of the way of doing it.

“I think at clubs and churches, even footfall in the city centre, people are reluctant to get back to what we would call the norm, so you can’t just sit on your hands.

“You need to do something about it and regenerate the interest back again.”

Regular dooker Mary James, 83, has been taking the plunge every January 1 for more than 20 years.

Mary James is a regular at the Broughty Ferry dook.

She said the community spirit at the event and the cold water was great for the soul.

Mary told STV News: “It’s so good for any age group; it’s good for your muscles, it’s good for your mental health. I did it last year and it was good to get back into the water.”

Another regular, Vivien Scott, who swims every day in the River Tay, said: “The camaraderie is terrific.

“People are doing something, taking them out of their comfort zone. It’s cold, they know that, and they get a shock.

“But they come away and feel accelerated. It’s five minutes out of your life, that’s all it is.”

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