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Shetland: Outdoor sauna project set to offer Scandinavian experience that will make you sweat

Publication: Shetland News

How about dipping into the sea at St Ninian’s isle to cool down after a thorough sauna session at the famous Tombolo beach?

Haar Sauna | Photo by Shetland News |Licensed for use on Scottish Beacon | All rights reserved

Sounds far-fetched? Well, it will become a reality as of next month when Hannah Mary Goodlad, originally from Scalloway, and Callum Scott go live with their mobile ‘Haar Sauna’ project.

The couple, who currently live in Oslo, are keen to bring a taste of Scandinavia to Shetland by connecting the great Scottish wilderness with the possibilities of outdoor sauna.

Their sauna on a trailer will be stationed at St. Ninian’s beach from the weekend of 7/8 October.

“There are loads of saunas in Scandinavia,” Scott said, “so what we are trying to do here is bring this new experience to Shetland – it’s one way of enjoying each other’s company in a more healthy and mindful way.

“Shetland is such a great place, but there is only a limited number of things you can do on an awful day, and this is an experience you can have on an awful day and enjoy it as well.”

Primarily associated with Finland, sweating in a sauna can come with many health benefits, including strengthening the immune system and boosting circulation.

Dipping into the outdoor pool at the Clickimin after a steam room session at the leisure centre’s health suite is the closest one can get to an outdoor sauna in Shetland.

It was in the middle of the Covid pandemic that Scott started converting an Ifor Williams horse box trailer into a mobile sauna, using sustainably grown timber from Scots pine, alder and larch and fitting it with a Huum sauna stove that burns wood.

After taking it to the Aberdeen beach first before going on a tour of the Highlands, the trailer will now come north where Goodlad and Scott are planning to establish it as a business.

Their initial plan to create a fixed sauna at Waarie Geo in Lerwick had to be put on the back burner due to the cost involved. Still, the idea is not entirely off the table depending on the local response to their mobile sauna concept, Scott said.

There may also be scope for a fleet of trailers that could be booked by people wanting to experience outdoor saunas at other beauty spots.

In any case, it will be a unique experience, Scott said:

“Book the sauna for an hour with your family or a group of friends.

“I would advise people to get in and out of the sauna perhaps six times in that hour. The oven will be up to 80 to 90 degrees hot.

“After six to 10 minutes, you step outside, you could run to the sea and jump in to cool down, or you could just stand outside in the rain and cool down that way.”

He added that he was keen to establish collaborations with local businesses but also wellness and fitness providers for mutual benefit.

Haar Sauna is already almost fully booked for the opening day on 8 October, but there are sauna dates available on 28 October, 18 November and 16 December from 6 am onwards.