Updated: Jul 17, 2018
Do you feel you spend enough time on yourself?
Life gets so busy the older we get - not necessarily a bad thing - I love the buzz of always having something planned and besides the personal business, there are partners, children, work, cats and everything in-between. So it is crucially important to take some time out and unwind and the way to do this is different for everyone.
Last weekend I was at Scapa Fest - UK’s Yoga and Adventure Festival - set in the most serene location of the Ardkinglas Estate on the shores of Loch Fyne in Scotland.
The festival is centred around the ambition and desire to connect with the self and the nature and varied selection of workshops, classes and experiences lent themselves perfectly to supporting the goal. I’m not a huge yoga-practitioner myself. Though I would love to be, the past couple of years have been full of ‘excuses’. Nevertheless, when my friend sent me the link to Scapa back in December, I leaped at the chance! The whole weekend sounded like a blissful experience - the foraging, outdoors activities, reconnecting with nature and just a weekend away with a good friend - what’s not to like? The next few months were spent planning our journey, working out the practicalities and filling the Scapa Fest Schedule.
Logistics and communications were brilliant leading up to the event. An easy-to-use app was set up to enable those attending to review the activities on offer and fill their weekend with those of most interest. Festival’s social media pages were full of exciting updates and communications, continuously reminding those of us going about how great it was going to be (there was really no need, excitement was over-bubbling).
As the weather in Scotland is rather unpredictable and you are safer being on the pessimistic side when planning any outdoors activities, we decided to hire a camper van for the journey to Loch Fyne and our stay there. Kombi Campers (www.kombicampers.co.uk) were a brilliant choice for this, based in Paisley (near Glasgow), they stock a variety of different campers (some vintage VW were spotted and lusted after in the garage before we set off in our slightly more practical and budget-friendly choice ‘Buddy’). For those of you slightly unfamiliar with the routes you’re about to explore, Kombi will track your journey and if you call them saying you’ve no idea where you are, they will guide you back on track - one less worry for the holiday.
We drove from Paisley to Loch Fyne, finding the location of the Festival easily - thanks to some very helpful signs posted along the route. The views along the drive were breath-taking (Loch London’s and Loch Long lining the way, as well as some stunning cliffs, hills and valleys) and if we hadn’t been a few hours behind the plan, a few more stops would’ve been made along the way!
The first thing we did after parking up our camper and changing into wellies (footwear of the weekend - I swear, my foot keeps cramping up as it’s moulded to the shape of the boot!) and cosy fleeces, was explore the food on offer. All food for the weekend was supplied by Food from Argyll, which I could not commend enough! The fresh salmon roll was my particular favorite and I had more of those than I could count back. My morning porridge with fresh berries was pretty outstanding too (it’s the simple things). I am huge on food, a big part of this weekend’s experience was ensuring I had the ‘right’ nourishment and the guys from Food from Argyll certainly full-filled my brief and belly.
Families are most welcome! My weekend was a girls-only kinda format - with just a friend, me and Buddy (our camper van) completing our gang, but you could absolutely come as a family! It is my understanding that you could bring children (free tickets for little ones) and a partner (or friend or relative!) for babysitting purposes free of charge - so you can enjoy the yoga and they can enjoy the adventure. The variety of activities for kids on offer was brilliant - I saw some sea creature-exploring, some hair crowns being made out of willow and daffodils, garden games being played by the fire and den-building in the forest - among others - best part, I’m ‘pretty sure’ adults were welcome to join in too!
I loved Scapa’s environmental ethos too - the goal was to leave minimal footprint, using only the reusable, recyclable, biodegradable throughout the weekend.
As I mentioned previously, I’m not as active practicing yoga as I would like to be and, given that I’ve got a little baby-bum cooking up inside my belly (alongside the salmon bun!), I didn’t think last weekend was a good time to take it up, so I concentrated on exploring the adventure side of the festival. As a result, I came home with a willow (lope-sided, but still marvellous!) basket, plant-printed tote (hapa-zome), some seed bombs for the garden and a few ‘slow’ holidays in mind for future. Not to mention the warmth of memories in my heart and a strong desire and affirmation to discover this way of thinking and this way of living a little bit more.
From the workshops I attended, I would particularly like to recommend the following few:
Wild Things (www.wildthingsscotland.co.uk), who help people (re-)connect with nature by encouraging and enabling exploring the beauty that surrounds us beyond the town and city walls. Their work is appropriate for all ages, check them out!
Wild Journeys (www.wild-journeys.co.uk), a company focusing on forging 'relationships between human and wild', but also, journeying around fantastic places, while (re-)discovering and (re-)finding oneself.
The Let's Go Slow blog, in partnership with the SAINT Project, championing 'slow adventures' - journeys, which target complete immersion into nature and enables the traveller to have a full-on experience of the place, without any foreign intervention into the process (check out http://saintproject.eu to be inspired. Caution: a trip canoeing around Finland may end up getting booked!).
Scapa Fest was somewhat a revelation, but also, a lot of fulfilled expectations. There is nothing I would change and, I think, a place like this is an absolute requirement - at least once in a lifetime - for anyone with this mindset in place already or anyone a little bit less sure of their self or their place in the world. It felt like a wonderful compass for anyone’s journey - wherever they found themselves at the time of attending.
Finally, I would like to take a minute to point out that all of the above is purely my experiences and opinion, none of the weekend was affiliated, nor sponsored by any of the aforementioned suppliers.
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