We are very lucky to be working in collaboration with a number of individuals and organisations who have come together to make the wellness retreats possible. At present we have a small band of professionals delivering the programme, however, this will be expanded in the coming months, as we tailor different retreats to suit requirements. Here is a list of our current activity providers:
1. Alpaca Trekking
Jean and Stuart from Velvet Hall Alpacas have enabled us to promote the therapeutic benefits of walking with animals (and they also give us the inspiration for our alpaca mascot).
They started Alpaca trekking several years ago, after falling in love with the animals at the Border Union Show at Kelso in 2011. After an initial trip to Northumberland to meet the alpacas, they ended up purchasing four and the rest is history!
The couple now run their own business, taking people out for leisurely walks across Tweed Valley. The alpacas thoroughly enjoy these walks and embrace the human company. The walks come with beautiful surrounding scenery and each animal has their own charming personality. Not only do Jean and Stuart provide walking buddies, but they also utilise the alpaca’s fleeces by turning their processed wool into warm, soft garments.
2. Healthy Eating and Cookery Workshop
Michelle Dennis from Glorious Greens brings new excitement and passion to healthy eating. The meals are especially good for those whose tastes-buds, diet and/or appetite have been knocked sideways due to cancer treatment.
It was a chance meeting at a social enterprise event that brought our organisations together, discussing all things health and nutrition. As a result, a great partnership was born. A qualified nutritionist, Michelle loves creating healthy, colourful food & drink. The outcome is products that look and taste amazing, whilst also providing us with the nourishment that we require.
Glorious Greens’ ethos is all about balance; sometimes we want wine and pizza, and sometimes we want healthy foods. With this in mind, they have created a food brand dedicated to providing delicious and accessible healthy meals. Taste and presentation are never compromised, and you will never have to suffer another “boring salad” when they are around.
Michelle has studied the results of this diet first hand, stating, “What most of us may not realise is that food is not just calories. It is information that communicates to every cell in the body”. Through their products, workshops and resources, Glorious Greens aims to provide products and services which highlight the benefits of good nutrition.
3. Introduction to Mountain Biking
Andy Weir and his team over at Ridelines provide sessions that introduce people to being on a bike, whilst going at a pace that suits them. Aimed towards getting you thinking, working and developing your riding, this session really helps with balance and building confidence in yourself. The time out on the bikes gives you the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and appreciate the sense of freedom you can experience on them.
Ridelines are a mountain bike tuition company based in the Tweed Valley, Scotland. Started by Andy in 2011, the goal was to bring his passion for mountain biking to people who lacked the confidence or ability to take their riding forward. For us, the most important part of Ridelines’ ethos is that their sessions are not just for the elite and experienced. They run kids camps during school breaks and family experience days all year round. We’re delighted that sessions for Borders Wellness Retreat has now been added to their list.
4. Gentle Movement Session
Charlotte and Callie over at Live More Borders visit to speak with participants about what kinds of activities are available within the Borders. They also highlight what other activities are available around the country. Alongside Move More volunteers from Macmillan Cancer Support, they also conduct gentle movement sessions,specially designed for people living with cancer.
5. Nordic Walking Workshop
Kay Hall from Core Callanetics Scotland is a lady who is very passionate about Nordic walking. She tells us that, “If you can walk, you can Nordic Walk!”
Nordic Walking was developed as Summer training for cross country skiers. It is a sociable activity with a number of benefits. Specially designed poles give stability & support, which proves particularly useful to people with back and joint problems. This method enables them to walk further & build up stamina. Because you are walking and talking, the perceived effort is low, but you’re actually getting an all over body workout. By engaging the muscles of the upper and lower body, you are also using more energy.
Kay has been teaching Nordic walking for 5 years and, for the past 3 years, she has taught 2 groups per-week from Maggie’s Centre, Edinburgh. Feedback from these groups has been excellent, stating that the sessions are a great mood lifter. This proves very beneficial for depression and anxiety. The movement of the poles can help treat light forms of upper limb lymphodema in breast cancer sufferers, and can also prevent the onset. The walking can also help in dealing with fatigue as people build their ability week by week.
6. Relaxation Therapy
Paul Mills and Annette Wilson are qualified across a range of medical and complimentary therapy techniques. They also offer workshops on how to relax and practice meditation and yoga.
Paul is a certified medical support clinical hypnotherapist, and teaches a range of techniques including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).
Annette is a complementary therapist with over 16 years experience providing reflexology, Thai Foot massage and Indian Head Massage treatments as mobile therapist and working from various therapy centres. She has trained in Reiki and counselling skills, and teaches yoga and relaxation techniques to children. She is also a qualified walks leader and a passionate advocate of walking for wellness.