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What a 'stroll' can do to bring renewed confidence and greater self-esteem

This week is an important week as we celebrate International Nurses Day on 12th May and Mental Health Awareness Week from 13th to 19th May.

International Nurses Day, a tradition dating back to 1965, was officially designated to coincide with the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale in 1974—a fitting tribute to the founder of modern nursing. Celebrated worldwide, this day is marked in various ways, each symbolising the profound impact nurses have on society. From educational initiatives led by the International Council of Nurses to local ceremonies like the symbolic lamp passing at Westminster Abbey in London.

Nurses from the community, where Isobel was invited to give her illustrated lecture on Greenland

The theme this year for Mental Health Awareness week is "Moving more for mental health" Regular physical activity is known to improve mental health, quality of life, and wellbeing.

Isobel was an advocate of exercising and after losing her father (1900), two brothers (1912 & 1916) and her closest friend (1918), which led to a mental breakdown in 1920, Isobel used walking as a means to navigate her emotional turmoil.  With mental health understanding in its infancy during the 1900s, Isobel would have had to discover her own road back to happiness.

The simple act of going for a walk is now a well-known way to beat the blues though Isobel’s definition of a “stroll’ was the 8 miles between Carlowrie Castle (her family home) and Edinburgh. In 1924, Isobel walked the length of the Outer Hebrides (150 miles), where she discovered solace and healing amidst the untamed beauty of the Outer Hebrides. Isobel wrote an article in the National Geographic Magazine about this experience which paid the princely sum of $250 (around $4,200 today). This was Isobel’s ticket to renewed confidence, greater self-esteem and ultimately her future visit to Iceland and beyond.

The Isobel Award was created by Carlowrie Castle to celebrate Isobel’s life, values and achievements and to continue supporting her passions.  Since its launch in 2019, it has positively changed lives through a number of organisations focused on helping their community and the wider environment.  On May 30th, to coincide with what would have been Isobel Wylie Hutchison's 135th birthday, Carlowrie Castle will host the 6th annual Isobel Award


This year’s event will have a focus on mental wellbeing, and will be joined by guest speaker Gail Porter, TV personality and mental health advocate. Gail embodies the values of community giving and strives to make a positive impact for communities in all aspects of her life.


This year we also commemorate 100 years since Isobel walked the length of the Outer Hebrides, from “Barra to Butt”.


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The North Star Explorer

Learn more about Isobel’s passion for the natural world, her experience of travelling to remote places and her encounters expressed through art and creative writing.

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