There is something special about this part of Scotland. A long sandy stretch of shore-line that spills down onto Moray Firth Coast, with vast stretches of pine forest and beaches – and at at its centre, beautiful and wild, Findhorn Bay.
The school sits on a hill overlooking the Bay just outside the pretty sandstone town of Forres, and every day the view is different – when the tide is in and the bay is filled with water, the clear northern light reflects blue and iridescent like a jewel. When the bay is empty, at this time of year, flocks of geese can be seen returning there, and it forms a shelter for tens of thousands of wading birds.
Ten minutes from the school is the fishing village of Findhorn, with its own small sailing school and marina, a coastal rowing club, the Bakehouse Cafe and pubs selling local seafood and real ale. You can ride over to Culbin Forest on the local taxi boat – the unearthly sound you are hearing on the other side will be the hundreds of seals that bask on the sand spit at low tide. Looking out across the sea, the hills and mountains of the Sutherland and Caithness stretch out north like a promise of adventures to come, topped with snow for much of the year. On a sunny day, the sight is truly remarkable – there is true drama in our weather and landscape, as in much of Scotland.
But Moray also enjoys a special localised climate due to the those mountains, and thanks also to the Cairngorm mountains just an hour to the south. We lie in the rain-shadow of both of those mountain ranges, and as a result have probably the clearest skies and lowest rainfall in Scotland. The quality of the light, the colours it produces, have attracted many artists, as reflected in annual events like The Findhorn Bay Arts Festival; and the surprisingly mellow climate is reflected in the abundance of fruit trees in gardens, farms, and small holdings in the area.
From those mountains also flows the remarkable Findhorn river, a dramatic boulder- leaping torrent that weaves through beech and oak woodlands before reaching the more mellow sandy plain between Forres and Findhorn.
Close by, the internationally acclaimed and ecologically sustainable Findhorn Foundation attracts visitors and residents from all over the globe and these people contribute to the richness and to the potential within the Drumduan school community. But the school is a genuinely diverse and eclectic community – drawn from local families, new families who have moved here for the school, drawn by the feeling of freedom, space and potential that Scotland and the North promise.