Travel: Pack in new skills on your vacation

A monk in the Butterlamp House, Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre, Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway'Picture Credit : Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland
A monk in the Butterlamp House, Kagyu Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre, Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway'Picture Credit : Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland

Holidays means different things to different people and for some it might be the chance to take a step into a new world – to learn a skill, go on a spiritual journey, or contribute to community life.

It is certainly a trend that is growing and research from the Global Wellness Institute found that global travellers want more a emotional, life-changing wellness journey.

Meanwhile, learning a new skill is important for people – especially millennial travellers who want to add to their cvs on their adventures – according to a World Youth Student and Educational Travel Convention survey.

Whether its learning to chop wood, chilling at a Tibetan monastery, or volunteering on an island, there are many ways to experience Scotland and feel the better for it.

A stint volunteering at the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory might be a great way for someone interested in getting a future career in conservation off the ground .

Another way to sample island life is to volunteer at the North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival, which is from 29 July to 10 August.

The volunteers will help rebuild a historic structure which is essential to the conservation of the rare, seaweed-eating North Ronaldsay sheep.

If finding inner peace is more your thing, then the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery in a peaceful valley on the banks of the River Esk near Langholm is the place.

There are a range of courses – from learning mindfulness to Tai Chi and meditation – or you can visit the temple and you can even stay a night or two.

For the more energetic, dancing might be the a perfect holiday pursuit. There are a number of organisations across Scotland that run drop-in classes to learn traditional Highland or ceilidh dancing.

If you do want to put on your dancing shoes then St Andrew’s in the Square in Glasgow is host to a popular Wednesday night ceilidh dance class, while Dance Base in Edinburgh has an August programme which includes drop-in classes.

You can get your hands dirty and learn a practical skill in the Cairngorms.

Aaron Skerritt creates unique pieces of art and furniture from fallen trees and he is now offering a Green Woodworking course.

He shows students how to use techniques that have been developed over hundreds of years that are in harmony with the nature and qualities of the wood itself.

There are plenty of places in Scotland to add some flourishes to your culinary repertoire.

Whether it’s butchery and filleting skills, seafood recipes or the secrets of entertaining, check out Marcello Tully’s classes at Kinloch Lodge on Skye or sessions at Nick Nairn’s cook school at Lake of Menteith, west of Stirling.