WALKING AND FOREST BATHING IN SCOTLAND
‘In every walk in nature, one receives far more than one seeks”
So said the Scottish-born naturalist and environmental thinker, John Muir.
As Spring is well and truly here and Scotland is opening up again, the freedom to walk anywhere and everywhere has returned. Daytime temperatures have started to rise, trees and flowers have started to blossom and daylight has become brighter and longer.
There are countless beautiful walks in Scotland, including many vitalizing walking routes in and around Edinburgh.
One of my favourite walks, however, is through the glorious woodland around the Falls of Moness.
This gentle walk along a steep rocky gorge immediately lifts your spirits, calms stress and encourages reflection. For the Celtic peoples, the slender, graceful birch or ‘birk’ trees symbolised beginnings and renewal, which makes this a great springtime walk.
The natural beauty of the surrounding woodland, wildlife and flowers is spectacular. So spectacular that the Scottish poet Robert Burns was inspired to reflect on the sights and sounds he encountered in a poem called ‘The Birks of Aberfeldy’. Burns composed the poem, lines of which are carved in wood along the walk and show that little has changed since he walked here in 1787.
Quite clearly Robert Burns was an early proponent of the more recent practice of forest bathing or ‘shinrin-yoku’. This practice of spending time outdoors under a canopy of trees is just what the doctor ordered for the coming months, and where better than in Scotland.