We are a couple in our late fifties and early sixties, and have been living here for over twenty-five years, we have four children who have now left home. We own a large old house near Newton Stewart, surrounded by pasture land for cows and sheep, with semi-natural woodland and a large garden, which we are trying to improve all the time. We are particularly interested in garden design, plant ecology and environmental issues, our garden has been featured in several magazines. We grow our own vegetables, eat our own meat, and do a lot of home-cooking. We like to eat well, with plenty of vegetarian food (and meat).
We are only looking for help in the winter months from October until April.
Help with Eco project
We have had over seventy volunteers staying with us over the last six years through another volunteer programme. We enjoy talking to young people of different nationalities, helping them to improve their English language skills, and sharing our ideas about all things from current world events and local issues to what we are trying to do here. It is an opportunity to learn about life in Scotland and what it is like to live in a large old house which could be described as a castle. Two specific skills which you would be likely to acquire are how to make a bonfire and how to make bread. Getting a good bonfire going on a cold winter's morning can be a very satisfying experience. We are also very happy to share our knowledge of gardening and woodland management. Both woodlands and gardens are wonderfully dynamic systems, constantly changing and constantly requiring interventions to keep them as we wish them to be.
Help required includes some garden and woodland work, cutting back vegetation and having bonfires, painting, planting trees, and making bread.
Your own bedroom and bathroom in our house, sharing all meals with us. Your own TV and wi-fi.
Our home makes a good base to explore the beautiful surrounding area with the opportunity to cycle on quiet country roads (we can lend you bikes), go mountain biking at nearby Kirroughtree, (one of the best venues in Scotland for this sport), take the bus into one of the nearby towns, or go on a coastal walk. There is also much to enjoy in the woodlands around our house, with a stream and several large ponds which are a haven for wildlife. By walking in any direction from the house it is possible to experience a wonderfully diverse countryside. We have been hosting volunteers for six years now and have hosted people from all over the world, which we have really enjoyed. We ask volunteers to work a regular six hour day during the week, usually alongside someone else, and then to have the weekend off, although they are welcome to join us for all meals throughout the week including weekends.
To get here:-
From the south, train to Dumfries via Carlisle, then bus to Kirkcowan ( two hours from Dumfries), or overnight National Express coach from London to Newton Stewart. If coming from Edinburgh, bus to Dumfries, then bus to Kirkcowan; from Glasgow, train or Citylink coach to Stranraer then bus to Kirkcowan or bus to Dumfries and bus to Kirkcowan, or from Ireland, ferry to Cairnryan and bus to Stranraer then bus to Kirkcowan.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
5 hours a day, 5 days a week