A Weekend At The Findhorn Foundation In Scotland
Before setting off for our trip to the UK, a good friend of mine mentioned we should visit the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, one of the world's largest Eco-villages. After settling in to England, I decided to find Findhorn on the map and figure out how we would get there. I was hoping it would be close to England’s border, but it turned out to be on the far north end of Scotland! It would take a six-hours by train, which included switching at multiple stations. I gulped nervously, wondering if I could navigate the trains in a country I’ve never been too. I almost let the idea go, but I decided to give Findhorn a call and see if we could visit in the first place.
I contacted the visitor center and spoke with a woman named Annie, who had a heavy Scottish accent. “Would this weekend be a good time for my son and I to visit?” I asked.
“This would be the perfect weekend to visit,” she replied. “We are having a children’s festival… There will be a lot of fun activities for the kids, yummy food, story-telling, crafts and dancing.”
I almost couldn’t believe our luck with the timing of their event for when we wanted to visit. “What are the housing options available? Or camping?” was my next question.
“Let me call you back,” Annie said. “I have a good friend who has a bed and breakfast. I’ll see if she has availability.”
Annie and I hung up the phone and I felt a rush of excitement. I could feel Spirit urging me to make the trip and assuring me that all is well. The next morning, Annie called back as promised and said we could rent a room for the weekend in a house that was in the neighboring town. Their price was very affordable, and I was told it was a short walk, along the coastline, to the Eco-village. I agreed to the price and told Sirian we would soon be on our way to Scotland!
Two days before our departure, I walked to the nearby train station and bought the best deal I could find. The man in the ticket booth was very helpful and made sure we were getting to the right place. It cost one-hundred and twenty pounds for the round-trip ticket, and thankfully my four-year-old son was free. I packed our clothing and travel necessities in my backpack, along with some organic snacks, activities for the train – playdough, coloring books, a few toys ect… and my camera.
We woke before sunrise to catch our train. It was pouring down rain, but umbrellas kept us dry on the short walk to the Daisy Hill station. Our first train arrived on time and then it was a quick ride to our next connection, The Virgin Train. This one was much nicer than the previous ride, with an on-board café, tables, nice places to sit and plenty of room to move about. I watched as we rolled through England’s green country side.
After two hours, we pulled into the station of Inverness, Scotland. We got off the train and I asked a young railway attendant where the platform was for our next connection. In his handsome, Scottish accent, he told me to wait where I was because it wasn’t showing on the board yet. Then, I saw the city we were traveling to next pop up on the monitor, along with the platform number, and the fact that the train was leaving in two minutes! This station was huge, with numerous platforms and our train was departing far away from where we stood. “We gotta run!” I called to my little boy, who was wearing his rain-boots.
I held his hand and we ran up a flight of stairs, through a tunnel, down another set of stairs, weaving in and out of crowds of people, praying that we’d make our connection. To enter the new set of platforms, I had to put my ticket through the electronic gate for it to open. I walked past and retrieved my ticket from them machine, thinking my son was right behind me.
“Mama!” I heard him cry out.
I turned around to see my little boy stuck behind the now closed gate. My backpack was heavy, and it was a struggle to try and lift him up over the barricade. I noticed a man sitting in a chair, watching as I tried to get my boy. We made eye-contact and he came over to ask if I wanted help. The kind gentleman lifted Sirian up into the air and to my outstretched hands. I thanked the man quickly and he nodded with a sweet smile. We magically made it on to our train, just as the doors closed behind us and rolled out onto the tracks.
“I don’t want to run that fast again,” Sirian said as we settled at a table seat and caught our breath.
“You did good, buddy,” I smiled and rubbed his head. “I’m glad we made it.”
I looked out the window and observed the city of Inverness. Old, but incredible stone buildings towered overhead on the left, and to our right, was the bay. The ride through Scotland was breath-taking… We went past the most beautiful, green mountains that I’d ever had the privilege to see. They were almost completely vertical, staggering tall amongst some white, fluffy clouds in the sky. We also saw numerous waterfalls, clean rivers, and lakes – it appeared this country had somehow escaped the madness of our modern world. It was so pristine in most places. Cattle roamed freely on the rolling hills and in the big open valleys.
Our train made frequent stops at the small villages along the way to Forres. I did not know beforehand that people could reserve seats. At one of the stops, a couple walked over to where we were sitting, pointed to a small monitor overhead and stated they’d reserved it. I apologized and began to gather our things from the table. “It okay,” the woman said. “You have a child.” The pair flashed us a smile and then they proceeded down the aisle to find an open seat.
That happened one more time on our journey North, but again the older gentleman told us to keep the table and he sat across from us. I made a note to self that I would be sure to check if any seats were reserved on future train rides…
Late in the afternoon, we took the final train to our destination of Forres. This was a quick, fifteen-minute ride and where the tracks ended in this part of the country. Sirian and I vacated the train and went outside to find Annie, who was going to give us a ride to our new home for the weekend. The tall woman, with short brown hair and wearing blue jeans, was right outside when the doors opened, awaiting our arrival. She greeted me with a loving smile, gave a warm hug and said hello to my son. Sirian stood behind me, being his shy-self. We walked over to her red car and along the quick drive, we initiated conversation on how she came to live at the Eco-village and why she enjoys it.
The road followed alongside the beautiful North Atlantic Ocean. It was a short drive from the train station to Forres. Annie pulled up to a grey-stone building that I learned was built in 1773 and would be our home for the next few nights. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. We were shown our room, had a quick tour of the kitchen, bathroom and living room, then the three of us took a walk through the seaside village. It was a remarkable and historic place, with cute homes and beautiful gardens. The air was crisp and fresh, the sky blue and the water calm… I was in awe of Scotland and couldn’t wait to see the Eco-village.
Annie had to return to the community where she had work to do in preparation for the weekend festival. We hugged before parting ways and I thanked her again for all her help and kindness. Sirian and I continued to walk down the sandy path, leading to the wild and open ocean. A lump formed in my throat as we made our way onto the empty beach. I had this feeling of returning to a place I’d once perhaps lived. It was powerful, and humbling. We explored the beach together, collecting stones and watching the waves, until Sirian somehow managed to get water in his boots and we had to return to the house.
The next morning, we woke up to a cloudy day, but the rain was holding off. I walked with my son to the local, organic café that seemed to have everyone from the small town inside. Sirian and I entered the building and I smiled at the signs near their menu that read ‘local food’ and ‘non-gmo’. A giant of a man, with a dark beard, stood behind the register and looked to be straight out of the Harry Potter films. He greeted us with a warm hello and I put an order in for our breakfast.
After our meal, I had a rush of excitement because it was finally time to head over to the Findhorn Foundation for the weekend activities. The location of the community is about a mile south of Forres, but we were able to catch a ride with some new friends we’d made at the café, who were also visiting Findhorn for the weekend. The first thing I noticed when we entered the park was how big and organized it was. There was a visitor center, next to their local co-op, a parking lot, and a lot of people walking about or riding bicycles.
Sirian and I first explored the store, which was the coolest thing I’d seen in any community I’ve visited thus far. It had crystals, metaphysical books, gifts, cards, toys, and a ton of organic food and beauty products. It was an amazing asset for the eco-village because most communities are quite far from any grocery and supply stores; to have one within walking distance of one’s home was amazing. Next, we began to stroll through the various neighborhoods on the land. I learned that the homes are made from sustainable materials and noted how they all had gardens and fruit trees outside. The community even has their own solar and wind power systems which generate the electricity. The population of Findhorn is around 500, but only 350 are official members of the community. Some choose to buy a home, or rent, to live in an eco-village and have a simple life with minimal impact on the planet, while the employees of Findhorn receive accommodation and manage the work-shops, retreats and seminars.
The Findhorn Foundation was established by three beautiful souls in 1962. Peter Caddy, Eileen Caddy, and Dorothy Maclean worked at a hotel in the area for many years, but were eventually terminated and they moved to the neighboring costal caravan park. With their young children, feeding the families on unemployment proved to be a real challenge, so Peter started growing his own vegetables. Dorothy said that during her meditations, she was able to intuitively connect with the intelligence of the plants, which she called angels, and they gave her the instructions on how to make their garden thrive, despite the fact they were living on sandy terrain. Dorothy and Peter put the guidance she’d received into action and had outstanding results. In the desert like soil, the caravan park grew incredible plants, herbs, flowers, and even 40-pound cabbages! Experts in horticulture came to see what they’d created and were completely baffled. The Findhorn gardens soon became legendary.
New people came to join them, and they found themselves settling into a community which was dedicated to a spiritual path and evolving the garden in harmony with nature. Dorothy published a small book in 1967, entitled, God Spoke to Me, and this paved the way for the spiritual community to continue to grow. Friends and supporters joined and new buildings, like their largest meditation sanctuary, were built.
The Findhorn Foundation has since grown in to what it is today, one of the largest and most successful eco-villages in the world. A wide range of nationalities, age groups, and backgrounds call this place home and it was clearly well taken care of. It felt like I was walking on an amazing college campus in a way – there was an incredible café, concert hall, a wood-fire pizza restaurant, library, meditation centers, playgrounds, gardens, and forests to explore. Nothing is forced on those who live in the community, but regular meditation is encouraged, along with the Foundation’s code of ethics. Together, they work through issues that arise, celebrate the changing of seasons, enjoy life through food, work and play. They experiment new ways of leadership, economics and self-governance.
It was an incredible weekend for my son and I. One that we’ll never forget. They did a fantastic job ensuring the children had a fun weekend. There was story-telling in magical tee-pees, a musical parade through the forest, crafting centers: making magical wands and learning to weave baskets, information on the wildlife and habitats was provided, we participated in an Alice in Wonderland tea party, sang, danced, and enjoyed some good food. Leaving the Findhorn Foundation wasn’t easy, and perhaps one day, we may call it home.
*Please check out the Diary of a Starseed Series for more exciting travel stories and information on communities and healing! Search Diary of a Starseed on Amazon!