“Ah, a haar!”

Safety tips for swimming in a Scottish haar

Neil Mapes

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Sea fog on the water
Photo by Tom Barrett on Unsplash

Nairn has some of the best beaches in Scotland in my opinion and offers some of the most breathtaking sea swimming experiences in the world. We regularly get the chance to swim with dolphins, seals investigate our flounderings and more recently basking sharks are in the bay as we swim.

So picture the scene. You have all your swimming gear, dry robe and flask of tea ready and leave your accommodation to head down to a lovely Scottish beach, like Nairn, on a warm summer’s day.

But as you get nearer to the beach the air starts cooling, and the closer you get the more the fog becomes obvious. Once at the beach, you are faced with cold foggy swimming conditions — very different from the weather you left at your hotel room just a few miles away. The haar has rolled in. So can you still swim safely?

Haar is a term used in Scotland to describe a dense, coastal fog that can obscure visibility and pose risks to swimmers. It is a cold sea fog that gets blown into land. It typically affectes the East coast of Scotland between April and September.

This story is the latest in my series on safer sea swimming and I’ll share some safety tips for sea swimming in Scotland when a haar is present to support your safe and enjoyable experiences.

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Neil Mapes

Beach wanderer, sea swimmer, trail runner and charity leader. Loving life in the Highlands of Scotland.