When it comes to navigating through chilly winters, we tend to look to our Scandi neighbours for inspiration. For many years now, the Danish art of hygge has reigned supreme as the ultimate cosiness concept – but it turns out we could be finding ideas closer to home. Enter coorie: the Scottish lifestyle trend focused on appreciating the simple pleasures in life, whatever the season.
What Is Coorie?
Scotland is the coldest country in Britain, particularly up in the Highlands, where temperatures have reached as low as -27.2C – the coldest ever recorded in the UK. But the Scots don’t let the harsh climate stop them enjoying the country’s beautiful landscapes, come rain or shine. Instead, they power through winters by embracing the spirit of coorie.
Pronounced ‘ku-ri’, the term ‘coorie’ comes from an old Scottish word meaning ‘to snuggle’ or ‘to nestle’. However, over time it has grown to mean much more, encapsulating a wider concept around finding happiness and comfort by soaking up the Scottish way of life.
In her book The Art of Coorie: How to Live Happy the Scottish Way, Glasgow-based journalist Gabriella Bennett describes coorie as ‘a feeling of cool, contemporary Caledonia’. She explains: ‘Coorie is about learning to live better using what is around you. It’s about drawing comfort from Scotland’s oldest traditions and updating them for modern times.’
The best bit? We don’t need to spend money on expensive candles and cashmere jumpers to reap the benefits. ‘It’s also about looking at how we buy, consume and spend our leisure time, then trying to simplify the processes involved,’ says Bennett. ‘A coorie way of life practises small, quiet, slow activities by engaging with our surroundings to feel happy.’
How To Get Involved
While hygge is all about snuggling up indoors, coorie encourages us to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Think wild swimming (better still if it’s in a loch), long walks, mountain hikes, foraging, gardening, stargazing – anything that involves being surrounded by nature. Naturally, wrapping up warm is a must. As the age-old quote goes: ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing.’
The trend isn’t all about being outside though: afterwards, warm up at the pub with a wee dram by the fire, or cook a meal and invite some friends over to enjoy it. Coorie is all about hearty, comforting food, made with locally sourced produce. Bennett also suggests doing some crafts, ideally using bits you’ve picked up outside. ‘Head to the woods for pine cones, festive wreaths, or harvest pine needles to flavour food and drinks,’ she says.
For the ultimate coorie trip, brave a bothie: a shelter typically found in the Highlands, but also in remote corners of Wales and England. Described by the Mountain Bothies Association as ‘more akin to camping spots than holiday homes’, these are simple, free dwellings often used by hikers and mountain bikers. From the outside, they usually look like country cottages, but inside these tend to be very basic, with no gas or electricity.
If that’s too wild for you, try one of the Scandi-style saunas popping up along the Scottish coastline: West Coast Wellness, for instance, is a wellbeing space beside Loch Fyne offering yoga, saunas, nourishing food and wild swimming. Community saunas are also a growing trend in London, popping up in places like Hackney and Stratford.
The Language Of Coorie
In her book, Bennett points out some other Scottish words and phrases that you may come across while seeking coorie joy. These include:
- Blether: To engage in a long chat or gossip
- Baffies: Comfy slippers
- Dreich: Wet, soggy weather condition
- Drooket: Soaking wet from the rain
- Gallus: Being bold or adventurous
- Housecoat: Dressing gown
- Moorie-cavie: A blizzard of fine, powdery snow
- Smirr: A fine, drifting rain
- Stravaig: To wander aimlessly
- Swally: A small sip