My husband and I are artists and require help around our house and land near the village of Edderton in Easter Ross, a beautiful and little known part of the Scottish Highlands. Our secluded house, set within large grounds, is on a hill overlooking the Dornoch Firth with views to the Sutherland Hills and the North Sea. The lovely, ancient little towns of Tain and Dornoch are all within easy cycling distance and from Tain there is a rail link to Inverness, thirty miles to the South and Wick and Thurso to the North.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
As well as its uniquely beautiful landscape and wildlife the Highlands of Scotland is one of the most culturally diverse and historically rich parts of the United Kingdom and can engage many different interests. Whether you are interested in outdoor pursuits, landscape, geology, wildlife, archaeology, flora and fauna, history, literature, architecture, painting, photography or traditional Gaelic culture, you will find much to inspire you within walking distance of our house, and inside it too. Evidence of the land's ancient and poignant history is everywhere. Neolithic stone circles, strangely engraved Pictish standing stones and ruined croft houses, sad reminders of the Highland Clearances, are nearby. Further afield but easily reached by bike, bus or train, are ancient towns and fishing villages. Mediaeval castles and stately homes are open to the public and attract thousands of visitors. Culloden, the site of the last battle fought on British soil is a short train journey away; its bloody outcome and brutal aftermath still resonates in the present political relationship between England and Scotland. Like the Irish, the Scot's political consciousness is often informed by events long past and of which most citizens of the UK have never heard. You will find the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland's rousing assertion of freedom from the English, displayed in many a pub and official residence. It predates the American Declaration of Independence by 456 years. The land has always inspired writers and visual artists and many have chosen to live here. The constantly changing pattern of weather, the huge skies, the shifting light across long vistas of hills and sea have inspired generations of artists. Many poets and novelists have also been inspired by the landscape as well as Gaelic culture and the land's history.
As for us you will be living with two friendly, people who have many practical skills, interests and cultural knowledge we are happy to share. As artists we are interested in everything and constantly looking for new ways and forms of expression in all we undertake.
The work we would like help with is varied, including painting, gardening, household chores, cooking, helping us establish a sculpture garden, cataloguing books and DVDs, clearing gorse, assisting with our artwork, landscape gardening, furniture restoration and anything else that happens to come along in our busy and often unpredictable working lives. We can easily teach you all the skills you will require, if you don't have them already, but you do need to be fit enough to undertake moderate physical work of the sort we have described. None of it involves "heavy" manual work.
You will have your own bedroom, with a comfortable roomy single bed, good desk and built in wardrobe. The room has splendid views of our garden and the hills and sea beyond. Your bathroom is a couple of steps away. You are of course welcome to share the rest of the house with us and we will take meals together, sometimes in the kitchen or, if we have guests or are just feeling like it, at the old refectory table at which Ian (Gandalf) McKellen once ate with his schoolmates. Our kitchen is large so there is plenty of room to prepare meals together. We both enjoy cooking and are happy to pass on our skills or indeed learn new ones from our guests. We eat mainly local, organic produce and although we are not vegetarians we do not eat a great deal of meat and are happy to accommodate vegetarians. Any meat we do eat is either organic or genuinely free range as we have strong moral objections to all forms of factory farming.
We live in the Land of the Three Firths: the Moray, Cromarty and Dornoch. Here you will find one of the most beautiful unspoilt stretches of coastline in the UK, with the sunniest weather in Scotland, the finest bathing beaches and the cleanest water. Dornoch Sands, our beach, is only 8 miles away, an undemanding bike ride. Although our house is secluded, it is not remote and, unlike the North West Highlands, there is good infrastructure and transport links so the whole area can be explored easily by public transport. The A9, the main road north and to Edinburgh in the south, is four miles away and there are bus and rail links to Inverness, the "Capital" of the Highlands, one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, with a vibrant cultural life centred around the University, the Museum and Gallery; the Eden Court Theatre and the Velocity Café. The city is the centre of the renaissance in Gaelic culture which is energising the area in all sorts of interesting ways. The rail journey from Tain to Inverness is a delightful trip. It takes an hour and fifteen minutes through pleasant countryside, stopping at lovely old towns and villages. You can also take the train or bus to the Viking towns of Wick and Thurso, passing through the Flow Country, the last truly wild place in the UK and the biggest stretch of wetland and blanket bog in Europe. It is an important breeding ground for rare birds and many rare plants grow there. It is presently being considered as a Unesco World Heritage Site. From Inverness you can take the train or bus to Scotland's world famous North West Coast, the wild Atlantic and the enchanted Hebrides; all possible in a couple of days.
We have many friends and contacts in the area; our eldest son lives in Inverness, so you can be sure of support and advice if you want to take a trip. There are likely to be other "Workawayers" and volunteers in the area so you may be able to contact them.
We have an apartment in Edinburgh and there is the possibility, depending on our commitments, that you could stay with us in the Capital for a day or two. Unfortunately we can't guarantee that will happen; it's more likely if you are staying for a longer period.
We are a friendly, easy going couple with close family ties and a wide circle of friends both in the UK and abroad. We live our lives along straightforward moral lines; we treat people with friendliness, courtesy, respect, fairness and tolerance and expect to be treated in the same way. As a family we enjoy each other's company and keep our friends close. We are in no way obsessive, but we keep our house, land, and bodies clean and tidy and expect our guests to do the same.
Only non smokers please
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Four to five hours, five days a week
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