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Farmer sauna occasion offers ‘relaxed ambiance with a way of unity’


Staff member
Mar 22, 2024
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A sauna occasion for farmers, run by Farmstrong Scotland, goals to supply a “relaxed ambiance with a way of unity”, the place farmers can speak about their wellbeing.

The organisation is supported by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), the Movember Basis and NFU Mutual.

The thought for the occasion began when East Lothian farmer Stuart McNicol dedicated to getting in a sauna two to 3 occasions/week to assist loosen up his physique and thoughts.

After buying a sauna, McNicol was impressed to pilot the occasion and gained help from his farming neighborhood, who got here collectively to benefit from the sauna and be taught extra about Farmstrong and tips on how to enhance their wellbeing.

“Farmers and crofters want folks to talk to, it may be a really lonely sector and proper now, we’re all hacked off by the climate,” he mentioned.

“Critical discussions about what we are able to realistically develop this season, following this steady moist climate, are taking part in on everybody’s thoughts.”

“For a long-time we now have all stayed behind our farm gates and never mentioned the challenges that face us, however we’re all experiencing the identical ups and downs.

“Individuals do wish to come collectively and natter – whether or not it’s about their enterprise, one thing of their private life or simply to get that reassurance they don’t seem to be the one ones feeling the best way they do.”

The sauna expertise​

McNicol mentioned, by incorporating a sauna, food and drink into the dialogue, farmers really feel extra relaxed to brazenly chat about what issues most to them.

“Everybody wants some “me-time” and through Covid this was one thing folks took extra discover of, however not too long ago the whole lot has sped up once more,” he mentioned.

“Individuals are speeding from one factor to the following, placing each hour into their work however forgetting about their very own wellbeing.

“We have to discover a higher stability and observe the instance of Scandinavian nations the place they worth day out.”

It was these nations that sparked the thought for a sauna, but it surely was a visit to the Royal Highland Present along with his father and his spouse, Jo, in 2023 that kicked off the implementation of McNicol’s imaginative and prescient.

“I’ve been taking a look at constructing a sauna for just a few years as we get numerous guests to Drift who worth the advantages of train from wild swimming in entrance of the café to strolling to see us with their canine,” he mentioned.

“What higher strategy to heat up after a dip or chilly stroll, than by sitting in a sauna with temperatures of 75°, all whereas having fun with the Scottish countryside.

“I used to be strolling across the Royal Highland Present final yr with my Dad and Jo, and observed the Sauna Dice. Inside 24 hours it was bought, and plans had been in movement,” he mentioned.

‘We wish to deliver folks collectively’​

While there have been some sceptics from just a few farmers at first, McNicol mentioned he’s already getting requested when the following sauna occasion will happen.

“Simply this week I’ve acquired a message from an area farmer asking when the following session will happen,” he mentioned.

“We wish to guarantee we hold the teams small, not more than eight to 12 folks, and it’s necessary that the folks attending decide how the session takes place.

“For instance, with our pilot occasion, we break up the group into two so some sat and nattered over a drink, whereas others had been within the sauna after which they swapped.”

Going ahead, McNicol mentioned it could be that one session is for girls and one other for males, after which they each come collectively for foods and drinks after.

“Likewise, if everyone seems to be comfy, we may do a blended gender session to usher in totally different views and views,” he mentioned.

“It doesn’t matter the way it runs, the necessary factor is farmers and crofters want help and we wish to deliver folks collectively.”


McNicol goals to make use of Farmstrong as a catalyst for help for farmers, and is seeking to run one other pilot sauna occasion on the finish of this month, earlier than beginning month-to-month periods.

“Farmstrong places an necessary highlight on our wellbeing and offers us the area and encouragement to hear to one another,” he mentioned.

“There are many nice organisations in Scotland already however there may be nothing like Farmstrong, encouraging that relaxed ambiance with a way of unity.”

Stuart and Jo McNicol mentioned they’re eager to make the occasions as inclusive as attainable with plans to make the sauna accessible for guests to guide.

They farm 430ac together with malting spring barley, winter wheat and spring beans for seed, together with a newly planted orchard of two,000 fruit bushes.

The following sauna farmers session will happen on the finish of April at Drift, Quarrel Sands, North Berwick.
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