This month, romance is in the air as thousands of couples celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you’re still searching for love, you might like to know that the great outdoors is an ideal place to meet a new partner.
Instead of the old adage that “opposites attract” it’s been shown through research that couples who enjoy things in common have a greater likelihood of living happy every after.
It’s also been found that spending quality time together – such as enjoying adventures in Scotland’s great outdoors – is a recipe for success in love. We’ve spoken to three couples who found love in the great outdoors.
Ali and Neil Lapping
It might sound a bit far-fetched but Ali and Neil Lapping met in Tiso in Glasgow. Neil was working in the rucksack department when Ali popped in to buy a new pack to help her with her adventures.
The couple, who are now married with two children, recall that their first date was a cold and rainy hill walk. Ali, now mum to Robbie, nine, and five-year-old Annabel, said: “I knew when I met Neil we had a lot in common. And after that first rain-drenched date on Ben Ledi it was obvious we were going to be a great match. We were soaked through and freezing but we were both content in the outdoors environment. Every date after that we went walking, mountain biking or road cycling.”
During their 14-year relationship Ali, 45, and 41-year-old Neil, who owns walking and cycling holiday company Macs Adventure, have spent much of their spare time in the great outdoors.
Their honeymoon in 2006 was a challenging cycling and hiking trip around New Zealand.
Ali, from Milngavie, said: “There is no way I could be with someone who didn’t share my passion for outdoors sports. It’s how we both want to bring up our family, too, enjoying activities outdoors. We do a lot of cycling and walking together as a family and we all enjoy walking and skiing holidays. We have been to Spain and Switzerland with the kids on walking holidays and hope to do the Tour de Mont Blanc this year with them”
“Perhaps Neil and I are as outdoors-mad as each other but it’s the best basis I can think of for a long-term relationship.”
Fi and Stuart Clark
Fi and Stuart – nickname Scoob – met because of a shared passion for walking Munros, Scottish mountains with a summit of at least 3,000ft.
In December 2011, Scoob had organised a walking trip to Glenshee, through website Walk Highlands, and Fi joined the trip. Fi had walked 22 Munros at that point after taking up Munro bagging as a hobby when her two sons reached their late teenage years. Scoob, who has four grown-up children, had walked to the top of 44 Munros.
The pair stayed in touch and then started walking regularly together as friends, ticking off long and challenging routes and by the time they got together some eight months later, Fi, a teaching advisor, had bagged 114 Munros and Scoob, a delivery driver, was on 131 summits.
Fi said: “We were both happy to bag Munros at a somewhat obsessive hill pace and 2012 proved to be a record year for us as we bagged 150 each.”
On September 28, 2013, the couple both finished the full round of 282 Munros – and as they neared the top, Scoob picked up Fi, carried her to the summit and then got down on one knee to propose.
Scoob said: “It was such a great day. We both finished our first round on the same day surrounded by friends. We’d hiked up Crowberry Tower via Curved Ridge before going on to Stob Dearg summit where Fi agreed to marry me.”
Fi, 45, and Scoob, 52, wed in 2014 and continue to walk together. They are currently on 208 Munros of their second round and have also walked 142 Corbetts together.
Scoob believes that having shared interests and experiences through walking has made them a close couple. He said: “Through walking, we share emotions and feelings from adrenaline-pumping scrambling or abseiling to awe-inspiring scenery. It’s our shared interests that brought us together and we continue to explore new things together.”
Marc and Jo Turner
Marc and Jo Turner’s eyes met across the bow of a sailing boat at Largs Regatta Week – and 20 years later they are married with two children. The couple, who live in Largs, are still keen sailors. Marc is a freelance photographer & Marketing and Communications Manager at RYA Scotland.
Their family, including Emily, 10, and eight-year-old Ben, spend weekends sailing the Scottish waters in their 22ft keel boat.
Marc, 43, said: “We met as part of a big crowd of sailing friends in the early nineties. I then engineered a kind of date with Jo in her home village of Tarbert on Loch Fyne by ‘accidentally’ leaving my wallet with her at the Largs Regatta. She couldn’t say no – and we found we got along really well.”
After a few years spent apart in the mid-1990s – remaining friends – while Jo went to university and Marc travelled, they reunited in 2000.
In 2004, during a sailing trip together Marc proposed under a star-lit sky. Jo recalls the moment as “amazingly romantic”.
Sailing also featured in their wedding and honeymoon in 2005, when the couple sailed to their wedding ceremony in Tarbert and then around Scotland’s west coast to Skye.
Jo, 42, who is the country centre manager at Kelburn Castle said: “Sailing is a big feature in our lives, first as individuals, then as a couple and now as a family.”
Marc added: “We have encouraged the kids to get involved in sailing, too, and both have attended learn to sail courses at Tighnabruich Sailing School, Largs Sailing Club Cadets and at sportscotland National Watersports Centre at Cumbrae.
“Every year we enjoy a sailing holiday as a family and we get out as many weekends as work and life allow. A good family day for us is spent outdoors, whether on the water or walking. We find it’s totally absorbing and given a challenge like sailing or climbing a hill we all come back refreshed with memories to share.”
If you want to start your own adventure, why not get geared up in one of our stores, and head out there! You never know how a romance may blossom and where you'll meet the love of your life! Share your stories of love or adventure with #MyTiso.