68% of Scots find a love of outdoors the most attractive quality in a potential partner
Findings from the research also show that, with existing relationships, 76% of people believe making memories together outdoors strengthens their connection – making a woodland walk, beach trip or garden stroll the ideal way to spend Valentine’s Day.
In addition, 77% of people surveyed said some of their best memories with family and friends took place outdoors. This is something that National Trust for Scotland members Sean Cullen and Jen Winter, who recently featured in a national campaign for the charity, have found in their own relationship.
Jen, from Motherwell, first bought their National Trust for Scotland membership as a Christmas present for Sean, knowing they could use it to visit special places across Scotland together. Favourite Trust places enjoyed so far include Glencoe, Ben Lomond and the Hermitage at Dunkeld, along with Culloden which was high on their list of ‘must-visit’ Trust properties last year since Sean is an Outlander fan and loves Scottish history.
Jen explains: “As a couple, we have always loved going away on little road trips to different areas and exploring new places together. It gives us a chance to see new things, spend quality time together, and most importantly it gets us away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s definitely something that we built our relationship from, and we continue to make time for our weekly walks out in nature.
She continues: “Most of our first dates were either road trips to the coast, going up a hill somewhere, or away on a long walk in some nearby forest. Probably our best early date was when we climbed up Sean’s favourite hill to see the sunset. I loved his passion for the outdoors and the thrill of seeing my first sunset at the top had me hooked from then on.”
As members of the conservation charity, Jen and Sean can enjoy unlimited free entry to over 100 amazing places across Scotland, exploring our great outdoors and iconic landscapes.
Sean adds: “I’ve always been a very outdoorsy person and have been going on adventures with my friends for years but there’s something very special about being about to get out in nature and experience it with your partner too. So it was always important to me and Jen to experience these things together and is definitely something we think makes our relationship stronger.
“Whether it’s going for a long hike up a Munro or walking in forests, being outside lets me de-stress, and for those hours, I feel like the happiest person in the world. There’s something very special about showing Jennifer these places.”
The results of the research for the National Trust for Scotland highlight the importance of the conservation charity’s work to care for and share Scotland’s nature, beauty and heritage so that people of all ages can enjoy their benefits. Whether it’s a romantic walk in the walled garden at Crathes Castle, a cycle through Balmacara Estate, a picnic in the grounds of Culzean Castle, or wildlife spotting at St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve, there’s no shortage of romantic places to explore with the National Trust for Scotland this Valentine’s Day.
Another finding from the research is that not only does spending time outdoors make potential partners or friends more attractive, it also improves mental health and wellbeing. 95% of Scots stated that spending time outdoors is effective at reducing stress levels, with 97% confirming that access to the outdoors is important for mental health.
Jen Winter agrees: “Definitely for me being in woodland areas where you can look up at the tall trees is something that always makes me feel happy inside. There’s something really relaxing about being in the woodlands and being able to hear the sounds of nature. I think being part of a social media generation I can sometimes get quite overwhelmed and so I like to find places like this where I can put my phone away and just enjoy walking in the sounds of nature to help me reset.”
Commenting on the research, Iain Hawkins, the National Trust for Scotland’s Regional Director for the North East, said: “At the Trust we know how important Scotland’s outdoor places are, so I’m not surprised to learn that people across the country see a love of outdoor experiences as an attractive quality in a friend or partner.
“Our charity has been giving the public access to and shared ownership of some of Scotland’s most magnificent landscapes, alongside historic buildings, gardens and collections for over 90 years, and we see every day the impact these places have on our members, like Sean and Jen, and visitors who are discovering them for the first time.
"We’re very lucky in Scotland to be surrounded by such wonderful natural and cultural heritage and, thanks to the support of our members and supporters, we’re able to care for and share some of our country’s most special places, helping create connections and shared memories that last a lifetime.”
For more information on the National Trust for Scotland, or to plan your Valentine’s adventure, visit www.nts.org.uk.