The Creative Countryside Summer Gathering was a delightful weekend with friends old and new, at Ravenstonedale, Cumbria. Hosted by Eleanor and Jess from Creative Countryside magazine, it was a weekend of Midsummer feasts and festivities, summer book club, wild herbs workshop, seasonal photography, mindfulness, meditation & yoga.
I went along with my good chum Tanya, and it was a wonderful experience from start to finish.
Ravenstonedale was as picturesque as I'd hoped and there was plenty of opportunity to wander off and explore nearby the barn. The slow pace of the weekend was seductive, something I've held on to and aspired to since returning home.
We woke to morning yoga, barefoot on the morning grass, led by Elizabeth Cairns. My very first yoga experience, I found it really relaxing and interesting how in tune it brought me with how my body is feeling. Elizabeth also led a meditation session which I totally zoned out in, really sinking down into the sofa and clearing my mind completely, not something that I often manage to do.
The immensely knowledgable Heather Borkowski took us on a short walk outdoors, pointing out wild flowers and plants with healing properties along the way which was really interesting. I see Selfheal everywhere now - and can't spot it without thinking of Heather.
Heather also ran a great session on making herbal pillows and herb butter (which was delicious!) I throughly enjoyed her session and honestly, Heather is a font of knowledge. Do head over to her website and see how she might be able to help you.
Chelsea led another great mindfulness walk that really focused in on our senses. It was great to just stop and tune in to what's around us, noticing the sounds of the wind as you move, the feel of discarded sheeps wool.
I ran a session on capturing the countryside, which I'll put into a blog post soon I promise.
On the Saturday morning, Tanya and I set an early alarm, 4am to get up and watch the sunrise. I'm so glad we did this - not only is roaming the countryside in your pyjamas AMAZING but the light is so soft and muted once the sun is up (way nicer than the midday glare of the summer sun).
There were so many special moments during the weekend, from conversations, to nature and the lovely little touches Eleanor and Jess added to the gathering.
And of course, every evening a campfire, complete with impromptu singalong led by Elizabeth.
🎶 "...and his shirt was made from fish fingers, fish fingers, fish fingers..." 🎶
Huge love and thanks to Eleanor, Jess, Heather, Elizabeth, Chelsea, and to Victoria for the lovely print inside the event bags (seriously check out her work here) and to Silver Nutmeg for the beautiful, especially made, solstice pendant (more on her Folksy shop here).
And special thanks to Tanya for being my car buddy on the long drive up (breakdown included on the way home too!)
If you are interested in future Creative Countryside Gatherings, head over to the website to see what's in the pipeline.