A little bit of coorie this winter

01 November 2018


In the last few years we have had ‘Hygge’ and its Gaelic equivalent ‘Cosgach’ but the publication this month of a new book entitled The Art of Coorie: How to Live Happy the Scottish Way shines a light on a completely new Scottish wellness trend. So, what is ‘coorie’, how does it differ from what has gone before and what can you do to bring some more into your life this winter?

Coorie is an old Scottish word without a direct English equivalent, but the closest translation would be something like snuggle or cuddle. The basic philosophy is about enjoying life despite challenging elements. It focuses on how to appreciate what we have around us and how to use the best of all things Scottish to enhance life and all its pleasures. For example, 24-hour availability may be desirable in the city but in the Highlands, we should be taking advantage of the fact that many things are closed on Sundays. It’s so much easier to slow down, switch off and remove ourselves from the pressures of consumerism and instead look to what is really important to find that deep sense of happiness and feeling of cosy contentment that comes from enjoying the simple things in life. The other distinct feature of ‘coorie’ is the emphasis it places on the outdoors. Whereas Hygge is as relevant to the city as it is to the country the Highlands, with its peace, space and clean air is the true spiritual home of 2018s hottest trend.

Recent research into wild swimming has revealed what enthusiasts have long suspected, that it can improve wellbeing and boost immunity. The idea of jumping into a freezing loch may sound daunting but persevere, for the first two minutes you feel like you’re dying, for the next ten you feel absolutely invincible and then the after-glow is quite extraordinary. It is a powerful serotonin hit like no other. Caledonian Retreat sits close to the shores of Loch Ness as well as a number of smaller lochs more convenient for wild swimming. It also has a hot tub for some relaxation afterwards, because coorie is not all about suffering, it is more about appreciating your surroundings. What better way to do that than from the luxury of the hot tub, especially in the winter when the shy is inky black, the stars are sparkling and the northern lights are glowing on the horizon.

Coorie is also about comfort food. Despite Scotland’s reputation for loving to fry all things edible, it has some of the most wholesome, rewarding and satisfying meals you can enjoy anywhere. One of the best is Cullen Skink, a traditional fish chowder, originally from the Moray coast. It’s a physical pick me up, especially in winter, and is perfect when followed with the boozy embrace of a cranachan made from oats, cream, whisky and raspberries. The Lookout is in Hopeman, not far from the home of Cullen skink. Coastal walking is a big winter highlight here and almost every café in every village along the coast will serve its own version. Alternatively snuggle up next to the fire at The Lookout with some you have prepared yourself with fresh fish delivered by a local merchant; the modern and brilliantly equipped kitchen here will make it a breeze.

You could wander for days in vast Highland forests without seeing a soul or spend all the daylight hours hiking up remote snow-capped Munros where you would encounter little signs of civilization, but the highlight of such endeavours is always the return home. Walking in the door, peeling off your socks and drying your feet in front of the fire is probably as coorie as you can get. A hot toddy and a tartan blanket wrapped around you will complete the experience perfectly. Beinn Alligin looks over Loch Torridon and is handily placed for all the local mountains as well as low level walks. A double sided multi fuel stove ensures that you are never too far away from the comfort of a fire when you return and even relaxing in the bath you still have a view of the spectacular surrounds.

Whatever level of cosiness you aspire to this winter, whether you are an on-trend fashionista or an old time Highlander who has seen it all before, just call LHH and let us help you bring a little bit of ‘coorie’ into your life this winter.