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Rural Scotland - small crofting guest house needs all year round help

World, Europe, Scotland, Lochailort



Travel dates

27°C, 01:23

About the workproject

We need 2 volunteers

Currently looking for one or two helpers to make a significant difference to our busy lives!. Ideally from the end of March onwards for a minimum of one month or more please grin

Katie and I own a small crofting home in the heart of the Scottish West Highlands in a small rural village called Lochailort.

We need help with the routine chores such as looking after the chickens, dogs and helping around the home with our children etc.. Some of the outside work is physically demanding - especially in bad weather conditions.

We are remote, but the area is stunning and can be just the most beautiful in all seasons.

Your first passion must be a love for nature and the rural environment. If you are looking to meet other people or come for a 'holiday' - then this is really not the place for you!

We are 27 miles from the nearest town (Fort William), and surrounded by mountains and a small stream. The Harry Potter railway passes by our back door throughout the summer months.

The seaside is just 5 minutes away and we are fortunate to live in one of the most scenic parts of the North West Highlands.

During time off you are welcome to make use of our bikes and kayaks, or simply take to the hills with our two lovely dogs for company grin

Your second love needs to be for animals (especially our dogs who need lots of care and attention), plus a tolerance and understanding of children. Ours are as well behaved as any family and we strongly encourage good manners and try to instil a healthy respect for their peers, but at the end of the day - they are just normal children and do what normal kids do!

We are looking essentially for honest, physically fit, healthy, non-smoking, strong, clean, organised, tidy, and reliable individuals or couples who are not afraid to work hard and are committed to stay the length of the agreed term. In the winter time this can be especially hard so please consider the cold and wet before you apply!!

Our family consists of Katie and I (Gary); our two children (Maia 11 and Eoin 9 and Kaia 6) ; two very friendly loving Springer Spaniel cross Labrador dogs called Galaxy and Trixen plus around 17 chickens and 7 ducks!

We also have our own vegetable plot, poly-tunnel / polycrub and mini-orchard. We don't have much land but do try and maximise every inch to it's full potential. Our ethos is to be as self-sufficient, economic and environmentally friendly towards our mother planet as possible. We watse nothing, make a strong effort to be as economical as we can and recycle everything where possible.

We try to actively enjoy a 'food healthy lifestyle' (although not so healthy sometimes because of our love for chocolate!). Our water is fresh as nature intended - straight off the mountains, and the air is as pure as you could ever ask for. Traffic pollution is minimal and the night stars shine brightly on a clear night.

If you are looking to learn how to survive on recycling, minimal use of expensive and costly non-essentials, living off the land where possible and growing your own vegetables, (our planting and preparation season begins around March and we run through till September and beyond growing various fruit and vegetables and then harvesting whatever the ground yields as best we can), then this is potentially the right place for you.

Winter months in the Highlands can be both beautiful and harsh so if you are considering a position with us you need to be tough - both physically and mentally to cope with what can sometimes seem like relentless rain and wind in addition to the isolation and distance from city or town life! In the summer months we have the midges - not easy to live with either!!

The help we are looking for throughout the year is flexible and based around a daily routine with our chickens, dogs, poly-tunnel and vegetable plot. The remainder of the time is filled with other chores depending on the weather, your skills, and our immediate needs.

Other work can be anything from preparing the fire to painting garden furniture, cutting grass, gardening, helping take the pressure off in the kitchen at mealtimes, watching the kids from time to time, cleaning, washing up and sometimes other basic household chores.

We have a multi-fuel stove which provides our heating and hot water so cutting logs is often on the agenda grin

The daily routine may take up to two hours of the day (made up of varying times)- and generally we prefer to have people who are happy to work flexible hours of around 5-6 per day / 5 days a week, in return for 7 days food and accommodation and an introduction to some magical local places grin

You do need to make a significant difference to helping our busy working family life. If it feels like we are helping you, having to clean after you or constantly reminding you of the routines, then it may not work between us. You need to learn quickly, be very organised and work efficiently!

Time off is flexible according to your needs and ideally should be arranged with us in advance by at least a few days so that we can cover chores in your absence.

We are very particular with cleanliness and hygiene in all that we do so please come prepared to work to the highest standards!

Although we have a random phone signal and internet connection - if you have some addiction to your phone and laptop then please consider if this is the right placement for you.

Our home is smoke free, so if you smoke - we would rather you do this outside the home and away from our children. Preference will be given to non-smoker applicants.

Food! We eat almost everything and as you will be our 'guests' here and become part of our extended family, we would like you to eat the same food that we buy and cook (we are both quite good cooks so hopefully if you are not fussy and will enjoy our meals)!. It's just not cost effective for us to be cooking for alternative diets and we simply do not have the time for this, so please do not apply if you have special needs in relation to your meals.

Having said that - we have no objection to you assisting in the kitchen meal preparations if there is a particular meal you would like to prepare for all of us (as long as there is meat or fish in it somewhere)!!

Accommodation is provided in the upstairs portion of our property (or alternately in our outdoor 'summer house' where there is more privacy if desired. You would be sharing our shower and toilet room upstairs. Please note that this area inside the house is not an enclosed room and does not have full privacy.

There may be opportunities throughout the year to earn some extra money and this will be paid at the end of your agreed stay with us. Please ask for more details if this may be of interest to you.

Thank you in advance for reading and if you have any questions at all please feel free to ask.

Gary and Katie

About the host

Gary And Katie (62)

Host since



English, Polish

Polish spoken and understood by my wife Katie

Last seen online

3 weeks ago

Katie and I have been married for 7 years and together for 15.

We moved from London to Scotland to my homeland and family home around 6 years ago and are trying to raise our three children Maia (aged almost 8 and Eoin aged 5 and Kaia who is 2 years young) in as healthy and natural environment as possible.

We also are learning about growing our own vegetables and fruit and have 17 chickens, 3 ducks, one dog and a smallish croft size area of land. It is an ongoing process of upgrading and maintaining, and one which we try to improve on each year.

Sometimes during the year we take guests and we are motivated by other people and the giving of a quality, realistic and genuine experience of rural Scotland.

Katie is from Poland and is a registered translator. We are a good team and work very hard, but with 3 kids and many things to do, we often need help for most of the year and your contribution needs to make a significant difference for it to be worth it.

You need to be committed to a 'work hard /play hard ethic and and be a clean, tidy and organised individual or couple. Whilst there is internet access and we are connected to the outside world - you will not have time for spending your days on your mobile phone or laptop!!

During our time off (and your time off if you wanted to come with us), we always try to get out and enjoy what our beautiful area has to offer - whether it be simply exploring hidden beaches or walking through our hills or trips to Oban, Mallaig, Fort William or other areas of interest...

You are always welcome to use our bikes and kayaks when not in use by other guests.

Project dates

Open for offers, contact us

Work to be done

  • gardening
  • construction
  • help in the house
  • maintenance tasks
  • tourist support
  • animal care
  • child care / au pair

Expected workhours

  • 6 hours a day
  • 5 days a week

Work exchange deal

  • private room, cabin

Accommodation is generally provided in the form of a comfy double sofa-bed in our upstairs private accommodation used by our family. It is a small private room with a door, double sofa bed, desk and free wi-fi internet connection. The T.V. is in the living room in our guest area downstairs and is available to watch whenever we have no guests. You would share the shower room and toilet upstairs with Katie and I plus our children. There is now also an option to 'glamp' in our new 'summer house' - private space, but without any of the facilities inside the house!! You'd need to come in for internet, loo, shower etc. Please ask if you would like any more details on this option.

  • shared meals

Most of the time you will eat breakfast with us where possible. This can be a full cooked breakfast or cereals / toast according to priorities & guest requirements each day. Dinners are mainly a cooked meal between 6 and 8pm. Sorry but we cannot cater for specific dietary needs such as vegans or totally organic meals. We are happy to provide meals on your days off if desired. We rarely have time for lunch but you are welcome to get something yourself or snack out with us until dinner time grin

  • offering money for additional hours 

There are opportunities to earn some extra cash for additional hours this coming winter season. Please ask for more details. Would need to be fit, strong and healthy!!

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