You’ve heard of travelling for wellness, now let us introduce you to its serenely quirky cousin, WATER wellness.
Water wellness, also known as ‘blue mind’, is centred around 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.
New YouGov research commissioned by VisitScotland, as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters, found that almost three-quarters of UK adults (73 per cent) think that being near water can reduce stress levels, while nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) believe it can reduce anxiety and depression.
Having sculpted Scotland’s world-famous landscape, sustained its stunning scenery and borne myths and legends like the Kelpies and Loch Ness Monster, the country’s pure waters are riding the wave of this growing wellness trend.
Thanks to its many lochs, rivers, canals and coastlines, Scotland is emerging as one of the hottest destinations in the UK to embrace the movement, with activities such as wild swimming and paddle boarding quickly becoming lockdown hobbies.
With miles of pristine coastline and thousands of tranquil lochs, outdoor swimming is becoming a popular pastime in Scotland. Cold-water therapy is a hot topic in the world of wellness, thanks to its positive benefits on the mind, body and spirit, but Scotland’s breathtaking beauty adds a special element to the experience.
Loch Morlich is in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, home to Scotland’s highest beach and surrounded by Glenmore Forest.
Shetland has over 2,700 kilometres of coastline and wild swimming has grown massively in popularity over the past few years. The pristine waters give great visibility and interaction with wildlife such as otters and seals are a frequent occurrence.
The country also has plenty of water-based adventures to help boost physical and mental wellbeing from kayaking, diving and surfing, to canoeing, sailing and wakeboarding.
Hidden away on the secluded south shore of the famous loch, Portnellan Farm on Loch Lomond combines all the traits of a working farm with a host of exhilarating outdoor water sport activities sure to get those happy endorphins racing.
North Coast Watersports provides cold water surfing experiences off the coast at Thurso. As well as beginners, group and private lessons, visitors can also book surf retreats that combine hitting the water with a cultural and culinary tour of the area.
Thrill-seekers can try their hand at wakeboarding during a visit to Foxlake Adventures in Dunbar, East Lothian.
For the ultimate water wellness, Yoga Adventure Scotland, near Dunkeld, Perthshire offers SUP yoga – traditional yoga poses performed on the water.
For those who aren’t keen on getting in the water, but still wasn’t to reap the benefits, Scotland also has plenty of waterside walks, perfect for taking in the country’s iconic landscape.
The Edinburgh neighbourhood of Leith lies right next to the water and is home to delicious delis, top restaurants and must-see attractions such as the five-star Royal Yacht Britannia.
Meandering paths run next to the River Clyde Glasgow’s evolution over time can be witnessed from its proud shipbuilding past to the modern-day sites of The SSE Hydro, the Glasgow Science Centre and the Riverside Museum.
In the north, Aberdeen’s beach runs along the eastern side of the city, and at one end lies Donmouth Local Nature Reserve, where you can see seabirds and terns, before turning inland to visit Brig o’ Balgownie and Old Aberdeen.
Seals and seabirds can be spotted along the banks of River Ness, Inverness. Visitors can amble along and take in in the stunning surroundings, as well as enjoy glimpses of the city’s history with views of Inverness War Memorial and Inverness Cathedral.
Featured image source: Visit Scotland