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The latest Nordic lifestyle phenomenon is the ideal way to approach the Scottish Autumn.

Scottish Friluftsliv – Fresh Air Living

Friluftsliv is the latest lifestyle trend to emerge from Scandinavia. Pronounced free-luftz-leev, it originated in Norway and roughly translates as ‘fresh air living’. As we approach a winter in lockdown, the central message is particularly relevant and it looks set to overtake the ubiquitous Danish concept of Hygge, as the most talked about lifestyle idea of the year. Scotland has a long historical connection with the Nordic countries and has very similar outdoor access laws, so the idea transplants across the North Sea easily. Here are a few suggestions for some Scottish Friluftsliv this autumn to banish the pandemic blues and some fabulous places to stay.

Outside Evening Entertainment in Scotland

One key component of this trend is the idea of appreciating the natural world, of taking time out and revelling in your surroundings, regardless of the weather. Now, more than ever, is the time to start to think about reconnecting with nature, slowing down and recharging by appreciating what is around you. One simple way to do this is by spending an evening outside round a fire. It doesn’t have to be massive bonfire, just something to keep the chill away, as you fill your lungs with fresh air, enjoy the silence and watch the stars emerge.

A great place to do this would be at Taigh nan Eilean in Lewis. There is a dedicated fire pit, seating and a view of the loch to really make it easy for you. There is no elitism or snobbery attached to Friluftsliv, it’s for everyone. No need to carry firewood for miles into a remote forest to experience the joys, just like you don’t need to spend the night in a tent to connect with nature. The house here is in a beautiful rural part of the island; some city dwellers might find the lack of ambient lights weird at first but the inky blackness highlights the fire that bit more and enables you to see the milky way and aurora so much more clearly.

Fishing in Scotland

Fishing is another great way to experience fresh air life. Much outdoor marketing today is focussed on extreme sports like mountaineering, surfing or skiing but to really re-energise nothing beats the serenity of a day spent by a remote loch. In the same way a campfire is more about atmosphere than actual heat, a day out fishing is more about peaceful relaxation rather than how many fish you catch.

Achmore Schoolhouse has expansive views across the Lewis landscape and a brilliant brown trout loch just across the road. It’s rare for wilderness to be so accessible but this is just the place to soak up the atmosphere of the Hebrides and afterwards relax in comfort inside. There is a woodburning stove where the family can gather round in the evening and the main attractions of the island are only a short drive away.

Hiking in Scotland

Hiking is another brilliant way to appreciate the joys of nature.  You don’t need heaps of expensive equipment, nor do you need to scale a massive mountain, to feel reinvigorated by what is around you. Sometimes, the most enchanting walks are just on your doorstep and half an hour is enough to find yourself silently detached from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Down House looks over Loch Torridon, in the middle of what is like a giant playground for outdoors lovers. The quiet serenity greets you as you walk outside and the surrounding wilderness is almost like an extension of the house itself. Friluftsliv is also about being comfortable and in Autumn this means warm clothes when you are outside and the cosiness of a real fire you can cuddle up next to when night falls. For a romantic escape this can’t be beat.

The LHH Guide to Doing Nothing

Maybe the best thing about the concept of Friluftsliv is that you don’t actually have to be doing something active to be enjoying the outdoors. It can be as simple as having a picnic on a beach, even if it is in the middle of winter. A blanket to sit on, a big warm jacket and a thermos of coffee can sometimes be all that is required to calm the mind. Taking it slowly and appreciating the sounds of your environment, as well as the sights, is just another way of connecting with your surroundings.

Taigh na Beadan overlooks Loch Roag, in a sleepy corner of the islands, has a brilliant view and decking out the back to take it all in. The cottage is also ideal for accessing all the remote beaches that this area is famous for. This year, the pandemic has seen a surge of people heading for the outdoors, but the islands have never felt crowded and still make for a great destination to enjoy Friluftsliv all year round.