With its many lochs, rivers, canals and coastlines, Scotland is emerging as one of the hottest destinations in the UK to embrace a growing new wellness trend.
Water Wellness, also known as Blue Mind, is linked to the positive influence water can have on our physical and mental health – that feeling of calm or peacefulness that is sparked when we are in or near water. Here’s how to embrace water wellness during 2021, Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.
Take a dip
With miles of pristine coastline and thousands of tranquil lochs, it’s no wonder outdoor swimming is becoming a popular pastime.
Loch Morlich, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, is home to Scotland’s highest beach and surrounded by Glenmore Forest. Meanwhile, Shetland has more than 1,600 miles of coastline and the pristine waters give great visibility, and interaction with wildlife such as otters and seals are a frequent occurrence.
Or head to the coasts of East Lothian and the Scottish Borders, taking a dip in the bracing waters of Gullane, Seacliff Beach and Eyemouth beaches, respectively.
Before taking the plunge, we’d recommend familiarising yourself with water safety, booking an organised wild swimming experience, join an outdoor swimming group or gain advice from the Wild Swimming Scotland community.
Get on board
One of the fastest growing sports in the world, paddle-boarding is a great way to explore, and keep active. Galloway Activity Centre offers a range of paddle-boarding sessions on the gentle waters of Loch Ken. Willowgate Activity Centre, Perthshire, allows visitors to test their skills on a lagoon before venturing onto the River Tay.
Adventure Carrick, in Ayrshire, helps guests experience the waters of south-west Scotland while Pinkston Watersports lets visitors paddleboard close to the centre of Glasgow. Or Yoga Adventure Scotland, near Dunkeld, Perthshire, offers traditional yoga poses performed on the water.
Hit the water
Regular exercise and staying active is the key to a healthy body and mind. And, hidden away on the secluded south shore, Portnellan Farm on Loch Lomond combines all the traits of a working farm with a host of exhilarating outdoor watersport activities.
North Coast Watersports provides cold-water surfing experiences off the coast at Thurso. Visitors can also book surf retreats that include a cultural and culinary tour.
Port Edgar Watersports in South Queensferry offers windsurfing, paddlesport and sailing experiences on the Firth of Forth. Or Outdoor Explore provides personalised kayaking trips on the River Tay, taking in views of V&A Dundee and RRS Discovery. Thrillseekers can try their hand at wakeboarding during a visit to Foxlake Adventures in Dunbar.
Walk this way
Scotland is famous for its stunning scenery and there is no better way to enjoy it than on foot.
Experience the character and rich history of Leith. The Edinburgh neighbourhood is home to delis, top restaurants and must-see attractions such as Royal Yacht Britannia.
Or, in Glasgow, follow paths next to the River Clyde and witness the city’s evolution, from its shipbuilding past to the modern-day SSE Hydro, the Glasgow Science Centre and the Riverside Museum.
A walk along Dundee’s waterfront provides city sightseeing. Keep an eye out for views of the Tay Bridge, V&A Dundee, RRS Discovery and Broughty Ferry.
In Aberdeen, at one end of the city’s beach lies Donmouth Local Nature Reserve, where you can see seabirds and terns, before turning inland to visit Brig o’ Balgownie and Old Aberdeen.
Spot seals and seabirds along the banks of River Ness, Inverness, and savour the city’s history with views of Inverness War Memorial and Inverness Cathedral.
St Magnus Way on Orkney is a 58-mile pilgrimage route following the life and death of St Magnus. While on Shetland, enjoy a walk around the beautiful island of Papa Stour. Back on the mainland, explore the Moray Coastal Trail which includes peaceful fishing villages and fine sandy beaches.
Experience a waterfall walk: Ramnahol Waterfall on Shetland; Eas A’ Chual Aluinn, Sutherland, Highlands; Loup of Fintry Falls in Stirlingshire; Falls of Clyde at New Lanark; and Greenock Cut, Inverclyde.
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