PUBLIC swimming pools are rarely whimsical affairs. Red buoys, flailing kids, silicone caps and, dare I say it, verrucas are hard to romanticise.

Yet, on Saturdays and Sundays, the glimmering waters of Lifestyles Eastfield and Carluke Leisure Centre become home to mermaids.

Mermaids Scotland hosts one-hour “mermaiding” classes at the Glasgow and South Lanarkshire pools for children and adults alike.

Like many small businesses, however, Mermaids Scotland is tails deep in the cost of living crisis.

Mermaid Queen Lindsey, alias Lindsey Leeper, started the business in October 2017.

“It’s a bit of escapism, taking you back to your childhood,” she says. “When I was younger, I used to put a pillowcase over my legs and pretend to be a mermaid.

“Swimming along a pool can be a bit boring if you’re just looking at that black line. Mermaiding helps me become a child and enjoy a bit of magic in swimming again.”

For £28 an hour, adults can don a tail and finesse their mermaid mobility. Skills progress from dolphin kicks to seaweed navigation and even backwards somersaults.

Leeper explains: “There are hundreds of health benefits. You’re working your cardiovascular system, your core, your glutes. Your legs are getting a really good workout because of the water resistance and weight of the monofin.”

Some Mermaid Scotland alumni have even taken the hobby professional, swirling about aquarium tanks for profit.

It is not all tail flicks and bubble kisses for the business.

“We’ve had to scale back on how many sessions we’re offering,” Leeper says. “We used to do weekly or fortnightly lessons but, because of the cost of the pool and things like that, our prices have had to go up slightly. It has meant people haven’t been able to book as many sessions as they normally would.

“I have to get four people in a class to break even. If I don’t get four, then I’m running at a loss.”

Mermaids Scotland’s Inverness venue recently closed, leaving the business without a venue in the region. Edinburgh lessons have also ceased.

Glasgow and South Lanarkshire sessions will now decrease from four to one per month in each location.

Swimming pools across the UK have hiked private hire costs to account for heightened energy and maintenance bills.

Pool owner Jo Wilson says: “Prices have really skyrocketed.

“We’re being told in the press that domestic energy prices are going down. But commercial hasn’t had the same. We were paying £1000 a month. Then we were paying £2000. Now we’re paying from £2500 to £5000 a month. These are costs you can never recuperate.

“Every single consumer bill has gone up. A barrel of chlorine has gone from £15 to £50.”

Mermaid attire is hardly cheap either.

Leeper says: “We’ve got monofins that slightly turn in your toes. When you swim, you turn in your toes naturally. So they support the body position in the water, rather than forcing the feet together or apart.

“The ones I use are bought from MermaidsUK. They come in around £60 per monofin.”

Mermaid schools are not hanging up their tails just yet, though, and received a wave of interest last year thanks to the Little Mermaid film and Netflix documentaries.

Despite downsizing operations in Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, Leeper hopes to resume lessons in Edinburgh and Inverness at some point.

“It’s a great class. Lots of happy smiles and joy,” she says.

If you are interested in swooshing around with Mermaids Scotland, book online or email