Our 20 hectare croft is made up of a mixture of woods, grassland and heath on Scoraig, the remote island-like peninsula in the North West Highlands of Scotland. We (Davy and Zoë) came here in 2014 to take on the family croft after having met at art school as mature students and now have a wee boy (Struan). We are in the process of bringing the croft back into abundance by establishing a productive garden, renovating buildings and barns, improving access and planting trees.
How you will benefit from being with us and what you will learn will depend on what knowledge and skills you already have. There is the possibility that you may learn about the nitty gritty of living off-grid, about fruit and vegetable gardening, about various aspects of forestry such as coppicing and woodland management. We hope you will have the opportunity to learn about the local landscape, plants and wildlife and benefit from the peace and calm of our rural context.
Davy grew up on Scoraig so has a whole wealth of knowledge from a lifetime of closeness with this landscape. Zoë moved here in 2014 so has fresh eyes on what it means to be living off the land. Davy is a time served joiner and is a pro maker, up-cycler and mender with a well-equipped workshop.
As well as us both studying art, Davy also has a masters in Human Ecology so we enjoy conversations about sustainability, biodiversity and land-based activism. Hopefully these conversations feed directly into practical work around the croft.
Gardening - We need help with all the usual garden jobs such as sowing, planting, weeding, harvesting, storing produce, watering, feeding, making compost, seaweed gathering, grass cutting, hedge trimming and pruning.
Firewood - We heat our home entirely from wood so need help maintaining the supply.
This will involve you lifting, brashing, stacking, chopping and storing wood. We are also keen to sustain the woods on the croft so may need help planting trees and nurturing natural regeneration.
Help in the house - We enjoy sharing vegetarian meals and need help with preparation and clean up. It would also be great to have assistance with other general household chores such as tidying and cleaning from time to time.
Childcare - We have a three year old boy who likes to play and explore with new friends so if you enjoy being with wee ones then child minding is a possibility if it suits everyone.
General Maintenance - There is always a range of maintenance work to do and depending on your abilities you could be involved in anything from ditching, fencing, stone walling or construction work.
English, some French and Spanish, a little German.
There is a very cute wee cabin in the woods for our workaways. It has its own wee kitchen, dining table, soft seating area complete with stove as well as an upstairs sleeping space with a double and two single beds. There is cold water on tap but no hot running water so you need to heat water on the stove or with the sun. The loo is a dry compost loo shed outside. There is very limited electricity (enough for lights) and no wifi.
All food will be provided and we suggest that generally you have breakfast in the cabin and join us up at the house for lunch and an evening meal. We are a vegetarian household and eat as much as we can from our own garden. At the house we have a hot shower, flush loo, washing machine, wifi and a generally pretty good power supply so you can share these with us as suits.
Our plan is to work together for 5 days out of 7 and on your days off you can explore the peninsula that has amazing coastal scenery and stunning views from up the Ben. If you like wild swimming as well as Little Loch Broom there are a number of fresh water lochans too. There are other hosts here so often there are opportunities to socialise with other visitors and residents. We also have a fair library of books to choose from so you can just chill out with a good book on rainy days.
Scoraig is quite remote so it can be a challenge to get here and away. Inverness is the nearest transport hub and there are three buses a week from there to quite near to us. We would then arrange to meet you and if the weather suits cross the loch in our wee boat or if it’s too windy you can walk in from the road end which takes just over an hour along a coastal footpath. On Scoraig there is a track so some residents have jeeps and quadbikes but mostly there is a lot of walking so a good level of fitness is required.
From May to September we are blessed by what we call midgies which are super tiny biting insects. They can make being and working outdoors annoying if they are out but they are only really about when there is no direct sun and no wind which is pretty rare around here.
It is difficult to describe how special Scoraig is to anyone that hasn’t yet visited. The peninsula was resettled in the early sixties by a motley crew of folk with a desire to live in an alternative way to the mainstream. For lots of residents this has meant building their own house, finding their own water supply, and powering their homes from wind, water or sun. Lots of people grow their own veggies, have chickens, some have sheep and pigs as well as a few cows. There is no pub, shop, post office or mains electricity and no road into the peninsula, access being by a five-mile coastal foot track, or more commonly by boat across Little Loch Broom. The residents are a practical bunch, comprising of around 60 people and there is a very strong sense of community here.
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Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week