Coorie, often compared to the Danish lifestyle trend hygge, comes from an old Scot's word meaning to nestle or snuggle. However, coorie means much more than this today. It encourages us to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, embracing the great outdoors (no matter what the weather) and enjoying the feeling of coming back to home comforts afterwards.
With day-to-day life becoming ever more hectic, it has never been more important to remember to be kind to yourself. That's why this year, when we think about St Andrew's Day and our values of kindness, we are looking for ways to show a bit of that kindness to ourselves as well. The ancient Scottish custom of Coorie, then, feels like the perfect Scottish custom to try out this St Andrew’s Day.
Toasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, mulled wine and hot toddies all exude warmth and comfort- the perfect treat after a day of stunning Highland walks or perhaps a bracing loch swim. If you have found the time to disconnect from work and digital life and have found yourself more connected with nature, family and the home, then congratulations- you are already practicing the art of Coorie.
The Language of Coorie
Here are some important Scottish words and phrases to help you embrace the coorie lifestyle.
Dreich: Used to describe the Scottish weather; dreary and bleak. The sort of weather that demands you cook up a tasty Scotch broth and curl up with a good book.
Baffies: An essential Coorie item- slippers!
Ceilidh: A term used for a Scottish social gathering involving traditional music and folk dancing, a perfect way to warm up after a chilly winter walk.
Gloaming: Meaning twilight or dusk. A perfect time to light up a fire and drink hot toddies.
Stravaig: A central idea to the coorie lifestyle, stravaig means to wander without purpose, just enjoying wandering for wandering’s sake.
Smirr: This is one of our many many words for rain. It describes the light rain that is barely visible but still manages to make you soaking wet. There are claims that Scots have over 100 words to describe the different types of rainy weather, but if you dress properly, you can enjoy splashing about in it, no matter what it is called!
How to Practice Coorie
Now you know what coorie is, you probably want to go out and start living the coorie life. Here are our suggestions for some coorie-approved activities to get you started.
Go for a nature walk
Whether you’re a Munro-bagging hiking pro or prefer a leisurely stroll through the woodlands, there is something for everyone in Scotland’s numerous walking routes. Take the time to roam about and enjoy the world around you. Nothing smells quite as good as fresh air and leaves crunching under foot.
Take a daring dip
An icy wild swim can wake you up and reset a tired, groggy brain. There are plenty of locations to pick from depending on whether you prefer to swim in lochs or in the sea, just remember to stay in groups and stick close to the shore- you want to be able to get to a towel easily when the cold gets too much.
Care for your garden
You can’t get much closer to nature than by caring for it. November is perfect for planting bulbs ready to bloom in the spring or nurture the one houseplant you own that manages to survive the changing temperatures. If you don’t have much space, you can always try growing rosemary by your kitchen window- it is incredibly hardy, able to survive cool climates, droughts and it will give your kitchen a fantastic fragrance, as well as saving money when you need to add herbs to your winter cooking.
Cook for the soul
Speaking of cooking, coorie embraces the hearty comfort-foods that remind you of home and warmth. You can try your hand at a recipe for casserole or stew, or perhaps this year you will try to make haggis, neeps and tatties from scratch.
Skim some stones
Another fun outdoor activity, stone skimming has a special connection to Scotland, as the World Stone Skimming Championships are held on Easdale Island every year (although the last two events had to be cancelled due to pandemic restrictions). Just make sure to look out for any wildlife before you begin, as most ducks do not take kindly to being hit with rocks!
Learn to knit
A cosy winter blanket is an essential coorie item and knitting it yourself is an opportunity to learn a new skill and stay inside when the weather is just too wet and cold to venture into the great outdoors.
Have a song and a dance
Coorie isn’t just about exploring the outdoors or curling up in front of a fire, it is also about embracing friends and family and finding moments to live in the present, without worrying about the things that normally keep your brain busy. What better way to do this than by putting on your favourite music, and dancing around the living room together. You can even make it an event and find a local ceilidh to attend. If there isn’t one happening near you, perhaps you can organise one yourself.