We’re going to be in Aberdeen this weekend, 28th-29th June, for the Scottish Kids Show. The show is open at the Aberdeen Exhibition Conference Centre and the kids go free. If you’re looking for something to do, make sure you come and visit us!
No 2 Stonehaven Open Air Pool
Last week I spoke about the outdoor pool at Gourock on the west coast of Scotland near to me. This week I’m venturing about 2 and a half hours away to the east coast where, in the lovely fishing town of Stonehaven is an Olympic sized swimming pool, that has been kept alive and thriving by volunteers when it was threatened with closure in the 90’s.
This month Stonehaven pool celebrates its 80th birthday and Fred MacAulay was there visiting with the BBC to see just why it is so special. BBC website.
This Art Deco building was built in 1934 and after having been threatened with closure at one point it is now thriving, with the Stonehaven Leisure Centre next door to draw more people along. Like the Gourock pool this is filled with seawater that has been cleaned and heated to 29C, which means it’s lovely when you’re in but have your hooded towel close by when you climb out.
Stonehaven opens from the 1st Sunday in June through to September with midnight swims and a disco once a week and don’t just go for the pool, the town of Stonehaven is beautiful with it’s picturesque harbour and little coffee shops.
Benefits Of An Outdoor Swim
I thought about doing a series of blogs on the world of outdoor water, big subject to cover I know, but I wanted to focus on the kind of outdoor water that man has managed to harness. From outdoor chlorinated pools to fresh and seawater pools, I’ll be covering the most basic tidal swimming pools to the more modern heated sea water lidos.
Even though I prefer a warm heated pool there are certain benefits to swimming in cold water, a Czech study found that people who immersed themselves in cold water three times a week experienced a significant increase in their white blood cell count — immune cells important for fighting off infection.The researchers put this down to cold water acting like a mild stressor, activating the immune system and giving it a workout.
Another, similar study found that cold water immersion may improve our sex lives by increasing the levels of testosterone and oestrogen in men and women respectively.
But it is swimming in salty sea water that may be particularly beneficial. A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that magnesium-rich sea water promotes the retention of moisture in the skin.
So swimming in the open could add a few fun filled, psoriasis free years on to your life, what’s not to like.
No1 Gourock OutDoor Pool
My first foray is into my local outdoor pool, Gourock, because our hooded towels are stocked there and Kenny the manager is always very helpful.
The pool originally opened in 1909 with the water heating system being put in 1969. The seawater goes through a cleaning and filtering process before being heated to 29C, at first I thought warm seawater just didn’t seem right after spending a lot of time at our Oban house freezing our n***s off, but now I’m a convert and should really spend more time here. Being on the coast you get all the smells of the seaside without the cold bit until you get out, then on a cold day, it’s a quick dash to the changing rooms. These have had a revamp, along with the gym and the seating area and it is all looking very spruced up, especially as it has my husbands showers and taps in situ.
Saving the best till last here is a photo I took today of the beautiful view across to Loch Long and The Holy Loch from Gourock outdoor pool.
Hooded Towels For Holiday Makers
Cool Camp Hampers have asked if they can supply their customers with our hooded towels, hurrah!
It’s great when you meet someone who has sort of the same outlook on life as yourself and, if you are both entrepreneurs, all the more so. It helps validate your reasons to want to be on this crazy journey of ups and downs and put the ‘why did I start this?’ voice out of your head. But to meet someone like Claire McMillan, founder of Cool Camp Hampers, was to meet someone who also shares my passionate love of the outdoors and I think her business is fab. Not only does she love the Scottish countryside, she loves it’s food too and she has combined these two things in Cool Camp Hampers which, when pre ordered, can be delivered to your campsite or other accommodation allowing you to get on enjoying your holiday in style.
Morton Of Pitmilly in Fife is a stones throw from the beach and with their own pool and outlying accommodation they are the perfect stockist for the hooded towels. A perfect base for exploring the east coast of Scotland especially the beautiful town of St Andrews and one of our favourite beaches at Elie only 15 mins down the road.
” No it’s not virtual, it’s a real treasure hunt, in the real Scottish countryside.” I heard my husband explaining to kids at breakfast. Having just finished a 1 hour stint on Mine Craft by 8.30am I don’t think 10 year old had grasped the cold, hard truth. That, yes, we were going outside. It was bank holiday Monday and the weather was set to stay dry till 2pm. So we planned to find our first cache.
Geocaching is a treasure hunt for the digital generation, a high tech adventure that involves the searching, and hopefully finding, of one of the 2 million small, waterproof boxes that have been hidden around the world. To find them you have to create a free account with goecaching.com and download the coordinates of the cache you are going to look for. Using a GPS enabled device, we used a Samsung Galaxy, off you trot to the vicinity of your choice.
There are a hundred or so caches hidden within a 50 mile radius of us so we decided to head for Loch Lomond, a 45min drive away. After parking the car in Balmaha National Park Visitor Centre car park we crossed the road towards the water. We had tried to visit the Island of Inchcailloch 2 months previously but the jetty from which to get the boat had been under the water so no one could take us over, but this time we were in luck, the 15mins boat trip, costing £17 for 5 of us was running smoothly and took us to the beautiful island.
Primed with our downloaded coordinates and a map from the visitor centre, we set off walking through a beautiful bluebell dells and natural woodland.
It wasn’t long before we came across the steep steps to a burial ground, which someone had posted was a clue to the position of the treasure. The kids all raced to find the cache and in due course had the box opened and inspected. By the time I arrived they had decided what to take and what to replace it with ( a pre requisite on finding the cache is to replace anything you take with something of equal or greater value) we took a tape measure and replaced it with a mini whisky flask, we then filled in the little log book and tucked the box back where we found it.
We carried on our walk around the island coming across a gorgeous beach with picnic tables and areas to put a portable BBQ (maybe next time), arriving back at the boat jetty at the time agreed with the boatman and left the island. Stopping off at a cafe on the way home, the portions were enormous and this helped everyone agree, it had been a success.
If anyone is thinking of going geocaching it’s a great way to get your kids outdoors and learning about coordinates.
A Day trip To Arran
Continuing on, one of the roads to The Castle leads past Arran Aromatics, we had a turn at making some soaps and, while they were setting, continued up to Brodick Castle.
Brodick Castle is set in a wonderful location with a backdrop of Goatfell, the highest mountain on Arran. Although you can wander round in the house we decided to eat our picnic and see the gardens. Next time we’ll definitely spend more time there because they have so much going on from Early Birds and Bacon Butties to Badger Watch.
Who would have thought we would choose the hottest weekend of the year to visit our holiday house, not only that but Oban recorded the highest temperature in Scotland on Easter Monday.For those unfamiliar with the west coast of Scotland, 4 days without rain in April is a legend only spoken about in whispers.
Didn’t get chance to take the boat out but did a lot of lounging around and managed to fit in 2 BBQs.
Couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend, topped off by finding 6 ticks on Biba when we got home!