RUNACH ARAINN YURTS
Isle of Arran, Scotland
What another exciting adventure, i was about to embark on visiting the Isle of Arran staying in a Yurt on the south part of the Island in a town called Kilmory for a few days.
This is my first time staying in a yurt and something i have wanted to do for a very long time, plus I have always wanted to visit the Isle of Arran again, and get exploring some more of it. Being from Scotland i find myself drawn back to some of the same parts of Scotland because there is a special tranquility there and always something new to be discovered.
We often visit the same places over and over again in our lifetime wherever this may be because we like the weather, food, people, living conditions etc… or maybe there is a part of us that has changed giving us a different appreciation or perspective of the area. Something keeps calling us back there.
This time instead of wild camping on the top of Goat fell the highest point on Isle of Arran 874m (2,867ft) or staying in a B&B. I'm staying in one of the three Runach Arainn Yurts that is situated on such beautiful land.
Just incase you don’t know what a yurt is, a yurt just like a ger is traditionally one of the oldest portable forms of housing. A sturdy round tent with a crown, and separate sections called khanas made of wood and held together with ropes, then covered with skins or other materials. It is traditionally white with red detailing or some other coloured details, and is used as a dwelling, more commonly by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. Those used in Mongolia are called ger and there is only a slight construction difference. There are two types of yurt based on the shape of their roof and they would measure a yurt’s size based on wings of the lattice. You could have a six winged yurt or a thirty winged yurt.
A yurt/ger is also an inheritable home, and even though magically simple, it is sturdy for even the terrain and weather of Central Asia and is decorated with heart and soul. They were perfect for herding communities and the designs on them are a mixture of personal taste, and important symbolism in honour of ancestors and also to protect the home, it’s inhabitants and their animals or any other livelihood. Many of the original inhabitants worked heavily with nature, so the designs were almost like written prayers to the elements in nature offering respect and asking for their protection and for them to treat them well. Some symbols were used for strength, some for health, others for good luck (often in agriculture).
You could see lucky colours painted across the doorways, creation stories painted on them and beautiful geometric patterns, strong animal symbols like the lion, tiger, dragon, reindeer, and even Garuda (who resembles a grand eagle) who is the vahana (vehicle) of the Hindu god Vishnu that Buddha was meant to be one of his incarnations. As well as earthly elements such as fire, water, earth, metal and wood painted throughout. The yurt/ger would traditionally have a fire in the center, and an altar facing north. And one half was deemed the male part of the yurt where the man did his work, the other part the female as that was where the woman did most of her work. Ying and yang, balance in a beautiful home.
The yurt I’m staying in is a perfectly sized yurt, and don’t worry it can also withstand the Scottish weather. The symbol such as the Eagle really stands out within the structural design of the Yurt i stayed in, it was as if the wings of an eagle had wrapped itself around the inside of the yurt.
One part of the symbology that i find particularly interesting is the geometric patterns that are common in a traditional yurt, especially the Alkhan Khee symbol which has a huge similarity to some of the Celtic symbology. There is no surprise there given the strong connection between Celtic art Central Asian art. Infact the preserved mummies believed to be Celts were even found in Central Asia, and their burial spots were marked with standing stone structures and Celtic figures.
So it definitely got me thinking more about the connections us Scottish folk had, considering we are taught that Yurts are traditionally from a complete different part of the world yet a connection between cultures is seen through similar art design etc. Even though in parts of Scotland there are sites which were once homes to the Neolithic era that are thousands of years old made of stone in a similar shape i do wonder did they also have some sort of yurt they would use when travelling the lands of Scotland? Scholars really don’t know much about the Celts as the culture was predominantly oral not down to lack of intelligence but out of protection, and what texts are out there is mostly known through the words of Romans.
I love the layout of the yurt inside, on the ceiling there is a beautiful yurt wheel, the crown which looks out onto the stars on a clear night, perfect, a comfortable double bed to enjoy those great views out the ceiling which added that extra dimension of sleeping under the stars and not having to worry about any sudden Scottish rainy weather you may get while camping, spacious interior thats very comfortable and easy to move with the options of changing the interior of the yurt to sleep six which is great for a family or a group of friends, a dining area which I found very cute as it was the perfect little dining area for a couple or a family having a meal and actually interacting whilst doing it.
My favourite though was the traditional log burning stove right bang in the centre, the heart of the yurt. The Log burner stove really does add that extra special feeling, it’s useful having the option of boiling water, cooking food only using the stove. It is something that l feel really does get you away from the modern life when we want to stay in someplace as cool as this. I mean nothing beats how delicious slow cooked food in a Log burner stove is along with the smell of burning wood and easy access from your front door directly out into nature, it’s bliss. Runach Arainn Yurts really do have the perfect setting here, inside and outside these yurts.
The outside of the yurt is definitely not to be ignored, there is campfire cooking outside all of the yurts with plenty of seating, a bathroom block assigned to each yurt so that you have privacy, and shared utility, which is fantastic options to have, especially if you’re not ready to go full off grid living. You have the beauty of living outside, with all the comforts.
What i love most about this land that the yurts are on, is that Pippa and Andrew who own Runach Arainn Yurts work hard keeping everything as natural as possible and have chickens, ducks, geese and bees they take care of, they help the land and environment thrive, which in return there is usually a fresh supply of eggs and honey if you are lucky at right time of the year. It is a permaculture site which i am absolutely 100% behind, anything that encourages the development of agricultural ecosystems is a big thumbs up for me. And lets be honest people who have bees on their property obviously understand the dynamics of how important they are for the greater good of humanity another huge thumbs up. I think everyone should come and experience staying in an environment like this, not just because it’s fun and it’s relaxing, but you can also see how useful and important nature is and how much better we can make the planet we are on when we work with it, and when we get away from some of the trappings of modern life.
All within a close distance you have views of Kilmory woods, buzzards, swallows, bats and if you are wanting to adventure outside of the area you will see Red Deer, Eurasian Otters, Red Squirrels, Bottlenose dolphins, Seals, Golden Eagles, Hen Harrier and Peregrines.
It is a haven for nature, and it doesn’t matter if you know a lot about these creatures or not, you’ll be in awe and you’ll find it all very relaxing. There’s something about being out within nature that our ancestors knew the importance of, it should be on a prescription when stressed out. Infact this place would be one of the first places I’d suggest to visit.
There is so much to see regarding nature but there are also some really cool archaeological sites such as Machrie Moor Standing stones which will take you about 30 minutes from Runach Arainn Yurts. There are some beautiful waterfalls and also the infamous cave... yeah you know the one I mean, Kings Cave where Robert the Bruce took refuge and realised if at first you don’t succeed, try again, thanks to watching a little spider weave a web there.
There is so much Scottish history surrounding the area.
Everything is super accessible when staying at these yurts, i find it very cool that these yurts are also open yearly as normally most are only seasonal. For anyone who wants to escape and stay in these beautiful yurts but needs the internet then that is also not a problem, free wifi is part of whats included and is super handy if required, as much as I think the surroundings are so relaxing and there’s so much around to explore that you won’t have much need for the WiFi.
All in all my experience staying in the yurt here was remarkable. A very zen, great space for relaxing and allowing the creative mind to expand, very easy space to get into a yoga session (and spacious enough to do that) or meditate, and it feels a very safe and comfortable space. Having the privilege to lie on the bed in a yurt, look up at the stars, fire on, candles lit is pretty much as chill as it gets in my books, it doesn’t matter if you’re solo, going as a couple, or with some friends or family, it’s quite unique and special staying in a yurt.
There is no doubt i will be back visiting Andrew and Pippa at Runach Arainn soon.
Click on Runach Arainn website if you want more details or fancy treating yourself to a few days away :)