There is nothing quite like the turn of the year to fuel our desires for new experiences and adventures. So here are our suggestions for great things to learn and try in Scotland in 2024 – and not a diet or new fitness regime in sight (these are much more fun!)

1. Run and hike in the mountains

From £85 
Lochaber-based Girls on Hills have been offering trail running weekends for women since 2018 and every year their course list gets bigger and more exciting. This winter join an experienced mountain guide for a weekend of winter hillwalking, learning how to enjoy our snow-covered mountains safely. The winter skills course will teach you how to ascend and descend on snow, how to use crampons and an ice axe, winter navigation, and best-practice winter safety. Later in the year, book Girls on Hills courses for trail running in Lochaber, the Cairngorms, Arran and Kintail. Popular courses include the Bothy Run with a night at a bothy in the middle and Run Wild Dip Wild with added outdoor swimming. All group courses are women-only but guides can be booked for your own small groups of any gender.

2. Warm up to winter in Nethy Bridge

Promising a gentler start to the new year, the Dell of Abernethy are collaborating with Katie White Yoga for a ‘wintering’ retreat at the end of January. You’ll stay cosy inside the candlelit Dell Lodge with a yoga studio, an open fire and gorgeous views to the snowy hills. “We’ll be really embracing the slowing of the season and gently adjusting to the new year. Slow morning flow, lazy brunching, soundscape walking, meditation in the forest to music, crafting, cooking classes… it’s going to be really beautiful,” says Polly Cameron at the Dell. Look out for the announcement of other workshops and retreats throughout the year. Currently they include a sourdough workshop in February and a very special supper club in May with music from Siobhan Wilson.

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3. Discover cashmere production at Lunan Bay

Spend a day at beautiful Lunan Bay farm in Angus, a regenerative farm bringing cashmere production back to Scotland for the first time in 30 years. In an immersive ‘Farm to Fibre’ experience you’ll learn how to gently comb the goats to harvest the fibre, see how cashmere is processed, and try hand spinning and hand carding. Learn how to dye wool fibre with plant extracts by the fire in the cosy beachside bothy and make naturally dyed yarn to take home. During the day you’ll be very well fed with a delicious homemade lunch. For a day out with the kids, of both human and goat variety, the wildly popular ‘Goats in Coats’ Easter experience is back this year too. 
£125 per person, May and June (during the cashmere harvest).

4. Try foraging in East Lothian

You can see our woods and coastline in a whole new light on a culinary foraging course with chef and experienced forager, Paul Wedgwood. Spend a morning with Paul in East Lothian on a small group course, identifying a huge range of edible leaves, fruit and berries in a variety of natural environments, it’s an ideal introduction to safe and sustainable foraging. Returning to Edinburgh you’ll enjoy a decadent multiple-course lunch at Wedgewood restaurant on The Royal Mile, featuring many of the foraged ingredients you will have learned to identify. Paul is on hand to talk through all the dishes and will provide plenty of tips on how to include foraged ingredients in your own cooking too. It’s £150 per person with regular dates from March onwards.

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5. Learn to paddleboard in Perthshire

Paddleboarding has grown hugely as a sport in the past few years. If you haven’t tried it yet, why not make 2024 your year? It’s surprisingly accessible and you don’t have to stand up; you can choose to sit or kneel on the board, making it a great activity for all the family. Beyond Adventure is based in Aberfeldy, which gives access to many brilliant beginner paddleboarding locations, including parts of Loch Tay, Loch Faskally and the River Tay – and plenty of more challenging stretches for more advanced paddleboarders. Beyond Adventure has offered water-based activity classes for more than 25 years and has all the best kit and brilliant instructors, so you’ll be in very safe and expert hands.

6. Go stargazing in Assynt is a recently launched offshoot project for Eat Sleep Wild, the hosts of mindful and sustainable outdoor adventures. With the aim of allowing more people to learn about and observe the cosmos in this outstanding dark skies area, Mark and Monica have built an observatory on the Stoer peninsula. This houses two powerful telescopes and a computer-based planetarium. 
Bespoke events are bookable for small groups with accommodation also available in the cosy converted byre. An outdoor kitchen is coming soon, which will add to the range of convivial star-gazing experiences available. If you live locally, join the free astro club for regular events and star parties to watch special celestial events.

7. Learn to make pottery with The Kiln Creative

Ellen Macfarlane makes the most beautiful ceramics at her studio The Kiln Creative in Birnam. In 2024 why not join her on a course and learn to make your own? Ellen, right, teaches both wheel throwing and hand building techniques in a six-week block of classes or a weekend workshop.
Ellen says: “The classes give you a break from the daily busyness of life, as well as making space for community and creativity. With your hands in clay, you can’t check notifications and news feeds and learning a new skill each week or over a weekend brings joy. You are in a class with a group of people you don’t know and there is something
very bonding about watching each other’s wobbly blobs of clay turn into wonky bowls and plant pots.”

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8. Forge your own chef’s knife

Newly launched for 2024 is a unique opportunity to spend two days on the shores of Loch Awe with Stevie Matson making your own bespoke chef’s knife. You’ll stay in a beautiful cottage onsite and work in the forge next door learning how to make a knife. Stevie Matson began his career as a chef with Jeremy Lee at the Blueprint café, then toured the world with rock bands as a private chef, before turning his attention to making the very best tools of the trade in this idyllic rural Argyll location.
The full fun package will include four meals, your own accommodation and a personal knife you’ll use in your kitchen with pride for years to come. Dates can be made by emailing

9. Welcome summer with Beyond Asana in Dunoon

Experienced yoga teachers Laura Bicker and Iain Bruce-Low combine their extensive skills a few times every year to facilitate transformational yoga retreats in beautiful places. The groups are small so you’ll have lots of individual support, wherever you are on your yoga journey. Next year join the dynamic pair in Dunoon for a three-night Summer Solstice retreat in June, staying in a Seventeenth Century house overlooking Holy Loch. The retreat will include daily yoga, sound healing, breathwork, reiki, meditation, and optional acupuncture- plus access to a sauna and a hot tub. Home cooked meals are included too. You’ll leave feeling calmer, happier, and maybe even more flexible.

10. Embrace your creativity at Leith School of Art

Time to pursue a creative dream? Whether you’re an expert or a dabbler, a course at Leith School of Art will provide you with all the tools, skills and expert tuition you need to make art a bigger part of your life in 2024. The independent art school has two campuses in north Edinburgh and offers courses including drawing, painting, jewellery and printmaking. A one-day course is the perfect introduction to the school and the wealth of creative opportunities. Workshops in early 2024 include colourful still life in February, learning to make silver stacking rings in February, and oil painting for beginners and experimental self-portraits in March. There are also weekend courses, weekly courses that run all year, and the option to study full time too.