A bath in the woods? Yes, please. EcoYoga Retreat, Scotland

In recent years, as I travel, I've been checking out yoga retreat venues. This casual project is related to something I am working on for the future and it's also just kind of fun to see these places and stay there for a night or two of respite.

Ecoyoga is the old Inverliever Lodge site (I don't know much about the old place). It is tucked away in the woods of Ford, Argyll, Scotland. It is about a half hour from the nearest grocery shop. The directions are easier to follow than you might expect, which was a great surprise to me considering how deep in the countryside this place is located.

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge

Multiple well know publications have written articles about EcoYoga for one very particular reason, they have outdoor bathtubs next to a waterfall (and of course it is beautiful). It is a yoga retreat, and bathing paradise extraordinaire. I found it while researching retreat centers in Scotland in 2013/2014. Later there was an article published about it in the Guardian that gave it some Facebook juice and it ended up in my news feed and subsequently friends have also sent the article to me. I knew I would have to include it on my route when I started to plan my Scotland trip.

It wasn't exactly on the way but I am queen of making routes work so that things I want to see and do can be included on trips. It usually involves me driving quite a distance extra but it has always been 100% worth it, every time.

From Glasgow it is just over two hours. I was able to bypass the city completely from the airport and head up by Loch Lomond. Passing through "Rest and Be Thankful" pass and eventually through to Inveraray. It was an incredibly enjoyable ride through the lochs and mountains and single track roads. The mists welcomed me to the country with wild sweeping wisps.

My check-in was a bit confused, solely because I wasn't expected. There was a miscommunication between the manager who I had spoken to and the staff that was present when I arrived. (The manager was at a wedding that day). But the staff welcomed me in anyways and were so kind to me. They even shared their dinner with me as I had not stopped at the food store because I thought I would run back out (not knowing it was a half hour back up the road from where I had come from). I was grateful for their kindness.

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge

As I was the only guest on this random night (a big group had just left that day), I had full reign. One of my lovely hosts showed me around the whole property including two of the outdoor baths which I couldn't wait to get in. The yoga studio was lovely and situated right by the bubbling brook.

Once my tour was complete I made a plan to make the most of my time there. First, I went straight to the yoga studio, rolled out a mat and began to move. Between the flight across the Atlantic, the second flight to Glasgow and the driving, I had a lot of tension and stiffness in my body. The studio had a great vibe and looked right out onto the brook with almost a whole wall of windows. While the practice felt rejuvenating, I was dying to get in one of the tubs and did so immediately after I did my yoga practice.

Yoga Studio - EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge

The lower gorge bath is a bit tricky to get to, but absolutely worth it. You walk down a steep hill holding onto a rope as you climb down dodging tree roots. I ended up having to go down backwards like I was walking down a ladder on a ship. I was rewarded with the tumbling falls (It had been raining hard for weeks) and a deep tub overlooking it. (Insert whatever sound unbridled joy is for you.)

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge - Lower Gorge Bath

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge - Lower Gorge Falls

While I was intent on bathing in this tub, it was not meant to be, I could not find the stopper for the bottom. There was a lever like thing that a lot of baths have to close off the drain, but I could not get it to work and finally realized that I was just wasting water. So I headed back up the hill and went to the upper gorge bath.

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge - Upper Gorge Bath

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge - Upper Gorge Bath

It turns out that I actually liked this bath better, it was secluded and built pretty much into the rock and ground and trees hung over me. I was in heaven. The water is piped in from the river after it is heated by solar panels. Let me just say that for a place that is pretty rainy, those solar panels do their job, the water was delightfully hot.  I stayed in there for what felt like an eternity, in a good way, but eventually had to get out when the water got too cold. (I did top it off a few times with the hot water.)

Besides these two baths mentioned above, they also have a sauna that looks like it is straight out of Hobbit land. The domed "spa" includes a hot tub and shower, just outside is a plunge barrel so that you can alternate between the hot and the cold. The rooms are  simple and lovely. There is a main lawn that I imagine if the weather was right you could do yoga on. The main building houses one accommodation ( usually for a teacher), the kitchen, lounge and a greenhouse lounge area. Further there is a "workshop" building which has a fireplace and lounge area and secondary kitchen for self-catering. The windows overlook the surrounding area including the nearby Loch Awe. It is a beautiful place for an in depth study yoga retreat.

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge
EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge

EcoYoga Scotland - Inverliever Lodge

So if you happen to be passing through Argyll, EcoYoga is worth it even for a night to experience those baths. Loch Awe also has some great sights if you aren't into yoga. I still can't believe this place exists in real life.

Thanks for reading! Travel on!