For this weeks Inspiration we talk to Catherine Maxwell Stuart the 21st Laird of Traquair as she tells us of travelling in South America and Asia and what it is like growing up in the oldest inhabited house in Scotland!
Hey Catherine! can you tell everybody where are you based and what you do?
I am Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Laird of Traquair. I live and work at Traquair House. We are Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited house and I manage the day to day operation of the house as a visitor attraction, annual programme of events and also our 300 year old working brewery.
How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
I was born and brought up at Traquair so I am a country girl at heart and I always love to be outside whether walking, running, riding, playing tennis or in the garden.
What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?
My favourite adventures have been travelling solo in South America and Asia when some years ago. The ability to take off, be totally independent and have the time to enjoy new countries and cultures is something I would recommend to anyone.
How do you make find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities i.e. work and family?
I am fortunate that I work in a beautiful outdoor environment at Traquair. There are always opportunities to get out for a walk or a run during the week and as the days get longer my days get longer as it seems criminal to waste the light being in the house.
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
Growing up at Traquair I was inspired by the farming community here who are outdoors whatever the weather putting in long hours all through the year. Their love of the land and the animals they care for is often a thankless task but such impressive commitment.
Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?
I feel that being outdoors is absolutely essential to my well being. if I don't get out every day for at least an hour or two it does have effect on mental health and a lethargy creeps in. dark winter days are hardest but even going in the worst weather makes you energised.
What is it about running specifically that you love?
I am a part time runner which I took up about 10 years ago in a bid to run a 5k for Charity. I progressed to running the Mighty Deerstalker and taking part in a Coast to Coast event. I absolutely never believed I could have run for more than about 5 minutes when I started and perhaps the most rewarding aspect of running is the progress in your achievement if you just keep going.
When did you discover FINDRA?
I was aware of FINDRA through friends in the area but it was not until I visited their shop that I was so excited to see the full range of their clothing. It is definitely the coolest shop in Innerleithen!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Best advice ever received – If you fall off your horse make sure you always get straight back on again. My riding teacher when I was about 10. She meant this in the most literal way but it is good advice in general that persistence and perseverance always pays off in the end.
On writing this blog, what do you feel is the key motivational or inspirational message you would like to highlight to our followers that would inspire them to get outdoors more.
My message to anyone trying to get into the outdoor life more is that you will never regret being outdoors, completing a challenge, making yourself do something you thought you might never do and a new adventure is around every corner!
The Traquair footpath – developing a 4.5km footpath around Traquair has been a labour of love but the spectacular new views we have opened up and watching the many people who are enjoying walking, biking and using the footpath is rewarding.