Temperatures on Portobello Beach could soar if a bid to operate a mobile sauna gets city council approval. Local resident and wild swimmer Kirsty Carver has applied for licence to locate her wood fired Soul Water Sauna on the Promenade close to James Street.
The sauna would be “a relaxing experience offering escapism, a wide range of health benefits and reconnecting with nature” councillors will hear. It is claimed the sauna would support growth in adventure tourism which is a VisitScotland priority, and would appeal to wild swimmers, kayakers, paddle boarders, rowers and runners who use the Prom.
Kirsty said: “We’re eager to introduce the sauna culture to the wider community, those who have not tried it before and as a place to bring friends and families together. We would also like to support locally run mental health organisations and charities to offer wellbeing experiences at a significantly discounted rate.”
Keen to clarify that the facility is mobile and would not be a fixed structure, and to address concerns about mixing a hot environment with cold water swimming, Kirsty added: Portobello will be the Soul Water Sauna’s home although it will be fully mobile. It’s right for people to be aware of risks although I’d like to add that there are many health benefits of cold water immersion and sauna use, and I’ll certainly be enjoying them myself.
“The sauna is there for relaxation, sea views and connecting to landscape, if customers choose to swim it’s their personal choice, separate from the business. The Soul Water Sauna will ideally be open within the summer, initially two days per week and operate throughout the year and reflecting demand in due course.
“Sessions will seat eight people and group bookings will be available to schedule online. When Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed sufficiently, we will look at individual sessions on a communal basis encouraging new community connections.”
Kirsty, who started sea swimming two years ago, added: “The beach has always been an integral part of why I love to live here and since I began sea swimming this feeling is compounded.
“I believe that having a sauna here would extend the social side of sea swimming and number of joyful experiences residents and visitors can achieve. What better location to connect beachside living with sauna culture with a place to soak up the many health benefits that a sauna has to offer?”