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  • Writer's pictureHighland Croft

It's not easy to Unwind

Many of our guests come here because they are trying to get away - from a fast-paced life, the city, life in general maybe. Because even though we're not too far away from civilisation as such, it's still far enough away to allow you to disconnect and put your worries into storage for a while. This place with its cathartic landscape, its natural beauty and the amazing creatures that live in it, lends itself like nowhere else to take the speed out and reconnect with what gets lost sometimes in the hectic of our day-to-day existence.


Ironically, the only one who struggles to relax here is me. I can always think of yet another job that needs done and a lot of it is repetitive and not exciting. These days I'm more likely to relentlessly cook, wash and tidy up after my kids than to work sheep in the hills. The end of the summer holidays and the beginning of full-time nursery will be a blessing and I have rarely waited so impatiently for the end of the summer to arrive; while at the same time forcing myself to enjoy every day and every minute with the kids on this stunning place very mindfully.

No matter where you live, you get kind of blind to its beauties after some time. So while the guests who stay with us go exploring the surroundings every day, we ourselves end up never doing anything that doens't have an actual purpose other than unwinding. We have to forcefully remove ourselves from the croft, far away, to some place where there are no weeds staring in my face, demanding sprayed. Where there are no lonely new posts sitting around waiting to be transformed into a new fence.

Then I get annoyed with myself: for feeling unappreciative, wasting yet another day in paradise with household chores. But then - I can't stand mess and we do need to eat. And my motto is always work first, enjoy yourself after that. Only that there might not be much left of the day after you finish your work. If it ever finishes at all, that is. Or the sun has disappeared and it's raining or dark or both. In Scotland, you just never know. In Scotland, I have learned, sometimes you just have to down your tools, leave the kitchen in its present state, run outside and inhale the glorious serenity of this place.


The energy is serene on the long summer evenings.

So no, I have actually never become numb to the beauty of the hills. I quite consciously see it every time I step outside - because I keep reminding myself. The view across the valley with the river running through it, framed by the hills, is something I never get sick of. It is my favourite view in the world and it always looks different. As the seasons change, so do the light and the colour of the hills. Even in a day it can go from hope-inspiring and soft to dramatic and bursting with energy. When a storm is approaching, a black wall rolls towards us through the hills and swallows everything in its path. I feel a connection to this place like no other in the world, the energy here is sheer bliss and resonates in every fibre of my body. However sometimes I have to pull myself out of the rut we all tend to get stuck in sometimes and force myself to be consciously mindful. When the kids are in bed, on a balmy summer evening, I have taken to abandoning my housewifely chores until later that evening and instead grabbing my yoga mat and running up into the field behind the house. Much to the amazement of our sheep and cows, I will then stretch and fold into a sun salutation. What better place to do it with the sun setting gloriously right in front of me, eh. Unless the midgies are out, of course. In that case relaxation comes second to my survival instinct and running back inside ...

Also I have started to change my ways and drag myself out and go somewhere else. When you live somewhere as beautiful as here, you tend to not go anywhere. If I want to take the dogs for a walk, I can just stroll across our fields. Should we have some leisure time at our hands (not often), we have ponies and a horse to take out and the woods to climb trees in. So we never go anywhere.


Nothing beats a stroll on the beach to clear the head.

But you see, the beach is only a few miles from here. It's lovely and you often have it to yourself, even on a nice day. Or there is the beautiful Loch Brora, nestled between the hills, with sandy beaches tucked away from the road. So if our guests can pack a picnic and grab a blanket, then why couldn't I? So I do now. I'm embracing giving myself some time off, giving myself permission to unwind and enjoy the croft and its surroundings as our visitors do. As if it wasn't all just work, work, work. Because it is, but at the same time, it isn't. If we lose its natural beauty out of sight, then what point is there in being here at all? If we can't enjoy it for what it is and see everything through a filter tinted with neverending chores, then there would really be no reason to keep going. But we love it, though sometimes, when you have just taken everything for granted, and you're perilously close to the end of that rut again, you have to remind yourself of your love. Why you fell in love to begin with. And stepping back a bit and making a conscious effort to appreciate and be grateful keeps giving me a new fresh approach and rejuvinates my love fro the croft, the hills and the stunning surroundings we are so blessed to call home.












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