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The Edward Carpenter Community
For men who love men


Laurieston Hall, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Sat 8th to Fri 14th June 2019

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What binds us together

A web of connections

Connections are at the heart of what the Edward Carpenter Community does. This themed event is dedicated to exploring those connections in new and fresh ways - whether that’s connection to ourselves, connection to each other, connection to nature, to our spiritual being or to the wider world. We’ll also be re-connecting with Laurieston Hall, ECC’s spiritual home for over 30 years, after a short break.

Through a programme of workshops and activities, we hope participants will gain a deeper understanding of the interpersonal skills necessary to maintaining positive relationships, and an insight into their own inner world, identifying characteristics essential for wellness and personal growth. We will seek to gain greater awareness of our interactions with the spiritual universe, an increased bond with nature and the wider world, and integration of our sexual, sensual and erotic selves into fully-functioning human beings.

This will be a retreat week intentionally confined to the magical spaces offered to us at Laurieston Hall – a rambling country house with acres of grounds including extensive woodland, kitchen gardens, a loch for swimming and a woodland sauna. We offer a series of core workshops and activities exploring the main themes, and we would like everyone to fully engage with these elements which will happen each morning. Further activities will be a little more challenging, and optional, as they may not be for everyone. These may include rituals, physical intimacy, nudity or exploration of belief systems we may not share. There will be opportunities for participants to offer their own workshops and activities, and ample time for socialising, small group discussions or solitary contemplation.

As usual, there will be base groups – small groups of 5 or 6 men who meet daily to support one another, and to explore some of the week’s themes in a more intimate space. There will also be a daily heart circle for those who prefer it.

For those already familiar with Laurieston Hall, there will be significant changes to the way we are welcomed by the resident community. We will be organising our own catering, and participants will be expected to spend more time helping in the kitchens, or clearing up and helping to maintain the shared space. There are three meals per day, and all food will be vegetarian. We can accommodate vegan and gluten-free diets but please speak to us before booking if you have any other dietary requirements. Accommodation will be in shared rooms of up to 8 beds.

Please note this is six-day event and not the familiar full week.


Mike Kaye

Stephen Messinger

Duncan Weaver

Imran Riaz

Mike Kaye
I've been involved in ECC since 2003. I've facilitated lots of workshops and been an organiser for several residential events. My interests include mental health, drama, Buddhism, psychology and philosophy. Laurieston Hall in June provides a wonderful natural environment for our themed week, and I'm looking forward to sleeping in my tent in the grounds. You can too!

Stephen Messinger
I've been part of ECC for just 3 years. I have extensive experience of hosting personal development activities in numerous organisations.

Duncan Weaver
My links with ECC and Laurieston go back about 15 years. I'm interested in exploring sustainable living and have extensive experience working with community groups. I'm particularly interested in issues around contemporary masculinity and in spiritual and personal development.

Imran Riaz
I'm Imran from Nottingham and I'll be your cook for the week. I'll do my best to provide you with a mix of healthy Asian and British meals. It's my first time at Laurieston and I'm excited to experience this place and to be there with all of you.

For booking enquiries please contact Duncan (duncan [at] For more information about the programme, please contact Mike (07984 148203), or Stephen (stephen.messinger [at]

Essential information

Venue: Laurieston Hall, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire DG7 2NB

Dates: Saturday 8th to Friday 14th June 2019

Accommodation: Shared rooms with mostly 4 to 6 beds, communal bathrooms. Participants may also camp in the grounds.

Accessibility: The building and grounds are mostly accessible but can present some challenges. There is a some sleeping accommodation and disabled bathroom on the ground floor.

Travel: Nearest railway station is Dumfries (25 miles). Frequent buses from Carlisle or Dumfries to Castle Douglas (7 miles) and occasional buses to the bottom of the drive. Most people get a taxi from Castle Douglas if not driving, or we can arrange pickups.

Arrival / departure: Please don't arrive before 4pm on Saturday. Depart by 11am on Friday.

Nearest shops: In Castle Douglas, about 7 miles away.

Places: The event will be limited to 35 men and a third of places will be reserved for newcomers until 1st May.

Full joining instructions will be available nearer the start date.

Photo: A web of connections Photo: Gateway to opportunities Photo: Connection with the earth spirit Photo: Laurieston Hall Photo: Laurieston blooms Photo: Connection with nature
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