Wild sauna, whether in a mobile horsebox or cabin on a windswept beach is on the rise. It's less than two years since the first ever mobile sauna, Haar, was brought to Scotland, but already they are popping up on remote, as well as urban, beaches all over Scotland. Not only is it possible to visit those already listed here, but many are in the pipeline - projects, for instance, are in the works in Inverness and Glasgow.

What they share is a similar ethos. Sauna, Scandinavian-style, mostly wood-burning, and in places that resonate with connection to nature, as well as, frequently, the possibility of an outdoor cold water plunge.

READ MORE: A sweat with a view: The wild sauna trend sweeping Scotland

Haar, St Ninian’s Isle, Shetland

 The Herald: Haar sauna at St Ninian's Isle, ShetlandHaar sauna on St Ninian's Isle, Shetland. Image: May Graham

On the spit of sand between St Ninian’s Isle and mainland Shetland is a horsebox trailer that is undoubtedly host to Scotland’s most stunning and remote sauna. Haar was created and brought there by Callum Scott and Hannah Mary Goodlad, the couple who essentially started the mobile sauna craze in Scotland.

During lockdown, inspired by the saunas they saw in Oslo, where they live, they bought an old “I for Williams” horse box and started to work on it together. Haar has already been places – Dunkeld, the Cairngorms, Aberdeen, Braemar – but this spot in Shetland, where Goodlad grew up, looks like it’s possibly its final landing place.

And if sauna and dramatic landscape are not enough, you might be glad to know that Haar also runs yoga sessions. A bit of a sweat to get there, but worth it.

Elie Seaside Sauna, Fife

The Herald: Elie Seaside Sauna, Fife

Perched on the dunes, overlooking Woodhaven Bay and banks of marram grass leading down to the shore, this sauna created by Judith Dunlop is wild and romantic, but also accessible and in a destination spot for watersports.

Dunlop, a sommelier at the Peat Inn,  first had the idea for the sauna on New Year’s Day 2022, and from then on was gripped by it, as well as the Nordic culture around sauna and cold water dipping.

Built from a horsebox bought from a farm in Gretna, and designed by Jamie Maclean, one of the team of brothers famous for rowing the Atlantic in 2002, it’s hard to think of a lovelier space from which to take on the darkening nights and chill of winter.

Watershed Sauna, Findhorn

The Herald: Watershed Sauna, Findhorn

This renovated vintage horse box, heated by a Finnish wood-fired sauna stove; opened for bookings on Findhorn Beach on the dramatic Moray coastline during Autumn 2022. Popular with tourists, it also provides low-cost sauna sessions for local residents through its popular winter wellbeing programme.

“Our primary motivation for opening the sauna was to use it as a way to help more people foster a deeper sense of connectedness to the natural world,” says Rupert Hutchinson and Elle Adams, its founders. “In the past year we’ve had people spotting Seals, hunting Ospreys, passing Dolphins and Basking Sharks as they bathe in the sauna, as well as epic starry skies and even glimpses of the aurora borealis.

A 60-minute-long private session for up to 6 people costs £60, and the sauna offers communal sessions where individuals can book in at £12 per seat. Operating Friday-Sunday every week.

Soul Water Sauna, Portobello, Edinburgh

The Herald: Kirsty Carver outside Soul Water Sauna at PortobelloKirsty Carver outside Soul Water Sauna. Image: Laurence Winram

Located at the edge of  'Porty' promenade, Soul Water Sauna has a prime view out on the Firth of Forth, and the many dippers who like to plunge into the cold off Portobello Beach. According to its founder, Kirsty Carver, it attracts a wide range of types – from swimmers through to fitness enthusiasts checking in after a yoga or HIIT work-out. Trained through the Lithuania-based International Bath Academy, she offers an immersion in sauna tradition, and its plant and nature connections.

Private sessions (an hour long), community sessions (90 minutes) as well as “hot seat” gift certificates, are all available.

 Sauna and cold water lovers will also be excited to learn that Carver has bigger sauna complex plans for Granton, just a few miles up the Edinburgh shoreline.

Wild Scottish Sauna, Kingsbarns, Fife

The Herald: Jamie Craig-Gentles & Jayne McGhie, Wild Scottish Sauna, KingsbarnsJamie Craig-Gentles & Jayne McGhie, Wild Scottish Sauna, Kingsbarns

This cosy cabin, on the dunes of Fife's sweeping Kingsbarns beach, was set up by Jayne McGhie, whose idea it was, and Jamie Craig-Gentles, founder of the St Andrews swimming group Bob & Blether.

For Craig-Gentles this was, she says, “the natural progression” from cold water swimming. She also recalls that while travelling to Finland while studying to be a mental health nurse, taught her that "we are all equal but no more so than in a sauna".

The pair also plan to “give back” every month by offering free sessions to those who suffer mental health issues or have family members who suffer and need some respite. 55-minute private sessions for 10-12 people cost £100; individual seats in a community session cost £15 for an hour.

Inverlonan sauna, Loch Nell, nr Oban

The Herald: Sauna at Inverlonan bothies

Chiefly built for the guests staying in Inverlonan’s architect-designed bothies, this horse trailer wood-burning sauna is also open to visitors, so long as there’s enough space. “The Bothy Experience is all about slow living,” says owner Lupi Moll. “It's about disconnecting from the day-to-day and getting back to basics whilst being fully immersed in the natural world. The sauna embodies that ethos. What better way to disconnect, to re-centre, to lose oneself in nature than by spending three hours in the middle of nowhere, on repeat, steaming it up and splashing it cold in the freezing Loch Nell?”

The Hotbox, Taymouth Marina, Loch Tay

The Herald: The Hot Box sauna at Taymouth MarinaThe Hot Box sauna at Taymouth Marina. Image: Iain Gallacher

The Hot Box on Loch Tay, built long before the trend for mobile saunas began has long been a top destination for spa lovers and cold water swimmers,  offering one of the few locations for outdoor swimming and a warm-up afterwards. It’s worth a visit, not just for its giant sauna, but the huge spa pool, and slide that offers a slip down into the icy waters of the loch – all of which are part of their Wild Wellness Loch Side Spa experience. Guests staying at the marina’s apartments get a complimentary session. Cost is £36 per person and £350 for an exclusive session, from Friday to Sunday, of up to 15 people.

West Coast Wellness, Loch Fyne

The Herald: West Coast Wellness sauna on Loch Fyne

On the shores of Loch Fyne, this giant of a sauna is, the brainchild of yoga teachers Hailey O'Hara and Rosie Barge. The idea for it started in lockdown, when these sisters-in-law made a pact to swim first thing for fifty days in February 2021 to help get them through the winter.  “Every time we were there,” Barge recalls, “we would say... how amazing would it be if we had a sauna right there?” Roll on some months and their yoga retreat was launched, and they were running day retreats with yoga and walking down to the loch to swim, and "the dream of the sauna was still there.”

Crafted from an old bale trailer by Barge’s partner, a boat builder, and her brother, a landscape architect, it has enough room to squeeze in 20 people during their retreats. The pair have also run swim coaching sessions there, late night sauna and BBQ gatherings. Every Saturday there is a group sauna session and it is available for private hire.

The Wilderness Deck, Isle of Mull Hotel, Isle of Mull

The ultimate in luxury wild sauna experience.  Overlooking a perfect dipping beach on Craignure Bay, this private retreat for hire features a hot tub, and cold water bucket. Guests can book afternoon tea or a bottle of champagne in a cosy snug.  Available to hire for both residents and non-residents.

Spear Sauna at Foxlake, East Lothian

Amongst the many pleasures and thrills Foxlake Adventures has to offer - which range from wakeboarding to their Foxfall rope course over water - is this new addition, a bijou sauna that encourages combining heat and sweat with a cold plunge. 

Communal seats are available for £8 for 30 minutes, or it's possible to hire the whole horsebox, for four, for  £50 an hour.