With naturism, you never have to worry about what to wear
by Russell Leadbetter / Photographs: Colin Templeton
Sunday 14 April 2013
IT was the sight of two naked people, glimpsed through the hotel’s front doors, that told us we had, at the very least, arrived at the right address.Reading, chatting, drinking tea and … erm … hanging out. It’s all part of the fun at British Naturism’s first Scottish Weekend at Dunoon’s Glenmorag Hotel.The reception area at Dunoon’s Glenmorag Hotel was crowded with other naked people, not one of whom betrayed the slightest sign of being self-conscious.This was more than could be said for me. In a suit, shirt, and sensible shoes, I felt distinctly overdressed for the occasion.We did at least, however, fare better than the postman who dropped off the hotel’s mail yesterday. It seems he was caught unawares by the sight of some people as naked as the day they were born. When he turned to go, he almost walked into one of the pillars at the front door.Welcome to the first British Naturism (BN) Scottish Weekend. It began on Friday and continues until this afternoon, and includes bare-obics, board games, ballroom dancing and a Burns Supper.The taxi driver laughed when he heard where we were going. “It’s a bit too cold for me to join them but good luck to them,” he said.But here’s the thing. While it is faintly surreal to see a dozen naked people hanging out – quite literally – in a hotel lobby, the sense of surprise really doesn’t last long.Over the day, I encountered people aged from their late teens and early 20s all the way up to pensioner status. No-one seemed to have any body issues in the slightest.Chris Applegate, BN’s volunteer co-ordinator, spoke of the sense of “liberation” that occurred in the build-up to 5pm on Friday, when the weekend officially got under way.
“We were all assembled in there and there was a tremendous sense of anticipation. I announced, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Friday, it’s five to five…’ We all went to our rooms and got ready and came back down here again. At the stroke of five, we took our last clothes off. The sense of liberation was remarkable; it was just like coming home.”Events were all rather sedate. Friday night featured a karaoke and a disco, and yesterday there was the bare-obics class, an optional boat trip to Tighnabruaich and a photography Q&A workshop.In the corner of a ballroom, a handful of guys crowded around an American Civil War game, complete with ranks of tiny soldiers.Later, as Applegate led a bingo session then a quiz, a couple of musicians – Peter and Jackie Benson – played a selection of songs, including Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, to a small but appreciative audience.All naked, of course, save for the hotel staff.And no-one batted an eyelid. By 2pm, what had initially seemed outlandish seemed perfectly normal. The ones wearing clothes – like me – were the ones who stood out.
In the bar area, people sat around in sociable little groups, chatting about this and that, having taken the courtesy of spreading towels on their chairs. They discussed their holidays, their families, the weather.Gentle music played in the background – including, slightly disconcertingly at one point, Andy Stewart’s comic song, Donald Where’s Your Troosers?Apart from the absence of clothes, everything was profoundly normal. Friendly, too. “Feeling overdressed yet?” someone asked me jovially. I had to say I did.”Aren’t you going to join in?” someone else asked. It was the question I had been dreading. And, of course, I declined.In one sense, joining in seemed the polite thing to do. In another, stronger sense, my natural reserve dictated that going naked in public just wasn’t me. Plus, I had a job to do. By way of compromise, I unbuttoned my shirt a little.Angela Russell, BN president, said: “I’ve been a naturist for 40 years. Initially, it was about having time on my own and being able to relax. I was 14 when I started to be a naturist and continued with the naturist lifestyle.”I had children, and brought all them up as naturists. I’ve brought my grandchildren up as naturists. One of my daughters had a naturist wedding. We do the same thing everybody else does, except that we choose to do it without clothes.”But to the uninitiated – what is the lasting attraction of naturism?
“Freedom,” she said promptly. “There’s nothing more liberating than to being able to go swimming, getting out of the sea or pool, and you’re not wearing a horrible, sticky costume.
“Away from swimming, there’s nothing more liberating than not having to worry about what you’re going to wear.”
Peter Robinson, from Chesterfield, recalled that actor Lesley Joseph, most famous for her role as Dorien in the sitcom Birds Of A Feather, had taken part in Calendar Girls, the well-known film about women in the Women’s Institute who strip off to raise funds for charity.”There was a photograph of her, hidden behind some fruit. Someone asked if she was naked and she said, ‘Yes, and it was invigorating’. She had summed it up, saying how invigorated she was to be naked.”We talk about Steve Gough, the Naked Rambler of Sheriff Court fame. I am told: “Steve will tell you that he’s not a naturist – he pushes the boundaries in order to try to open up more acceptance of naturism”.We talk about the attractions of Dunoon, the growing acceptance of naturism, about BN’s forthcoming events – Nudefest, in July, and the Alton Towers naturist weekend in November. It emerges that naturism crosses all social and occupational divides. Members have included politicians, retired QCs, middle-class professionals, as well as “ordinary” people.People are familiar with the idea of the “pink pound” – the spending power of the gay and lesbian community. Events like this hint at the power of the “buff pound” – the spending power of naturists. The town will have benefited to a good extent over the weekend. BN members spent money on accommodation, ferry fares, drinks and meals. And so taken are they with the warmth of their welcome, they are planning to come back here next year.Last night’s attractions included a Burns Supper, the women wearing sashes, the men bow-ties, the piper in a kilt. By the time we left, going naked in a hotel seemed like the most natural thing in the world.And apologies to all those good-natured people who had asked me to join in. I did walk bare-foot across the beach on the way back to the ferry, though.
This is a article from the “The Herald Scotland” it can be found here :-