This month I’m embracing the Scottish lifestyle trend “coorie” (meaning to cuddle or to hug) – the Highlands version of hygge. Bracing country walks in chunky knitwear and sturdy hiking boots, hearty meals beside roaring fires – I might even start drinking whisky again. Give me Burns Night over Dry January, every time.
Coorie may not be a widely known phenomenon (none of my Scottish friends has heard of it), but it is surely a reflection of the growing desire to switch off and step away from the computer screen. “I do think there is something in it,” says photographer Susan Bell, who grew up near the Solway Firth and is currently researching a book on the landscape and cuisine of Scotland. “The whole vibe is changing: walking, wild swimming, being aware of the landscape around you. There is a definite connection to the land. People have realised that you don’t need to go to Iceland or the Faroe Islands when you can rent a house on a stunning beach in Scotland.”
As a fan of rambling and the great outdoors, one thing this fashion-conscious city-dweller intends to do more of this year is get out into the wild – but kitted out in a cosy & Daughter Aran sweater (from £285) and some chic hiking boots. Last year saw Bella Hadid in an Off-White boot (£655) and Gucci’s fast-selling Flashtrek GG high-top sneaker (£795) – and the trend for fashionable women’s hiking boots continues to soar in popularity.
This season, Valentino Garavani has unveiled a suede hiking boot with a shearling lining and sturdy sole – the Rock Stud-embellished suede hiking boot (£955) is available in black or light tan. And Jimmy Choo’s Hillary Hiking Boot (£995) is carried over for spring. Moncler’s shearling-lined Blanche ankle boot in white (£470 at Net-a-Porter) is a fashionable choice, while Christian Louboutin’s quilted and ribbed beige suede ankle boot (£1,145) has a rubber sole that is partially painted in the brand’s trademark red.
Closer to home, Joseph Cheaney’s Penny Hiker Boot (£295), handcrafted in Northamptonshire, comes in three colourways, including a beautiful navy suede, with a Goodyear welted sole and leather lining. And Grenson’s calf leather, commando-soled Nanette boot (£265) had already sold out three times in the month prior to Holly Willoughby wearing the vintage-inspired style on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. “We then sold 500 pairs within an hour,” says Tim Little, creative director and CEO of Grenson. “We had another drop of 500 pairs, three weeks ago, that sold out in 10 minutes.”
As an early adopter of the hiking-boot trend – I purchased a pair 10 years ago for a trip to the Arctic Circle and kept wearing them on my return – I wasn’t interested in the modern, half-training shoe/half-walking boot hybrid. I was looking for an old-school style – think Grace Kelly après ski in St Moritz. The best retro-inspired, leather hiking boots available at the time came from Brasher (the women’s Country Master Walking Boot is £155). The company was founded by Arctic explorer Christopher William Brasher, also a runner (he was the pacemaker for Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile) and co-founder of the London Marathon and British Federation Orienteering. I’m currently wearing them with cashmere socks, cropped trousers and a slouchy jumper around town, but I’m hoping they’ll be stepping out of London soon.