When planning my recent trip back to the UK, my friend and I decided to include a ‘Yoga & Walking Retreat’ in the Scottish Highlands, which was being delivered by a good friend, Kirsty Innes.
The chance to escape and experience a few days in the magical Scottish Highlands was too good an opportunity to miss, and the dates fitted perfectly into my already planned itinerary.
The journey from Edinburgh to Spean Bridge (which is where we were headed) is worthy of mention as this drive was amazing – scenery unlike any other, stunning mountains, enormous lochs and a wilderness that is just as picturesque as Canada and others areas that are renowned for their beauty.
We did take the slightly longer route so that we could drive alongside Loch Lomond through the Trossachs National Park, and we were pleased that we did. Further along from Loch Lomond, the countryside changed dramatically as we drove through Glencoe and the ski field areas close to Ben Nevis (Scotland’s highest mountain), and touching through Fort William.
Our final strop was the Commando Memorial near to Spean Bridge which is a ‘must stop’, not only to see the memorial but also to take in the spectacular, rolling views of the Ben Nevis mountain range.
Our yoga sessions were held in the Clan Cameron Community Hall in Achnacarry, and our walks were in the surrounding area, through the woods, along the River Arkaig, and finishing at what is left of the Achnacarry Castle.
Our guide, Graeme, who is also the owner of Smokey Oak Lodge (which is where we were staying), shared tales of the local folklore and we were taken back in time to learn all about the Highlanders, the Jakobites and local Clan history. Graeme’s stories were captivating and without a doubt, an important part of the whole experience. He was a professional tour guide before renovating Smokey Oak Lodge, and we could tell! He also treated us to a trek into the woods in search of the ‘White Witch’.
Smokey Oak Lodge is basic style accommodation, but comfortable, well appointed and located right on the River. It’s got everything that you need and is in a beautiful location… the perfect place to unwind.
I knew that the yoga would be terrific, as I’ve been to some of Kirsty’s sessions here in Australia, and it was exactly what the Doctor ordered. Restorative yoga at its best, and four amazing sessions that were relaxing, restorative and the perfect activity to complement our Highland walks. We were also treated to delicious home cooked food, hot chocolate and marshmallows by an outdoor fire by the loch and a weekend of relaxation and a true ‘back to nature’ experience.