A summer camp dedicated to Men in the Foothills of the Pyrenees, France



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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    This location is in a beautiful sunny and sheltered river canyon - it's a very special place ! - On one side we have access to small local towns and villages (the nearest is about 5 Kms) and on the other the huge wilderness of the Corbieres which extends for 60 kms towards the Mediterranean. The canyon is green wide and has the sun all day ! The famous and slightly wierd village of Rennes le Chateau is nearby (If you have read "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) . It's a calm and rural experience but not totally isolated from the "real" world, shopping trips get us out and about from time to time and it's fun to explore the local area when time and energy permit.

    Bring a project of your own as well writing drawing or bring an instrument - its the ideal place to do all of these things.
    There are places to swim - one is a natural rock pool - vital in the summer heat !
    Canoeing, White water rafting, Riding and a Ropes Course are all available in the local area.

    A summer camp dedicated to Men aged 19 - 30-ish !
    We are a male only camp and a gay friendly venue - being gay is not a requirement - in fact I couldn't tell you what proportion of gay and straight men have been here over the years - it's not the point - it's more that if you do happen to be a gay man you can know from the get go that you will be very welcome - even in the modern world that can feel a bit more inclusive especially when you are travelling. Anyway, I happen to believe that being in a single sex environment from time to time - because you choose to - is a perfectly reasonable idea and can work well for both men and women ....... so, there it is - apologies to anyone who feels excluded but at least this is more direct and honest than simply rejecting all female applicants without any explanation. For me the logic is very simple; I've spent all my adult life accommodating myself to a heteronormative world ...... in my retirement it is a real pleasure to spend at least some of my time each year in an all male environment ...... if that makes sense.

    BTW ..If you cherish a dream of having "a place in the country" one day then the many and varied activities will give you hands on experience of Estate Management on a modest scale. You will quickly see what is really involved and the multi-tasking it requires !

    See "SUMMER 2022" ... further down this profile.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    It's a calm and rural experience but not totally isolated from the "real" world, shopping trips get us out and about from time to time and it's fun to do little trips in the local area when time and energy permit.

    Bring a project of your own as well writing drawing or bring an instrument - its the ideal place to do this.
    There are two places to swim - one is a natural rock pool - vital in the summer heat !
    Canoeing, White water rafting, Riding and a Ropes Course are all available in the local area.

    It's usually quite INTERNATIONAL;
    Our volunteers have come from all over the world and English ends up being the language most in use - ( though Mandarin, Turkish and Portuguese have also been very popular from time to time !) ...... therefore if your main aim is to absorb FRENCH CUTURE AND LANGUAGE .... this is not the ideal place for you.

  • Help


    Here are some of the work projects we have to tackle:

    Woodland Management including heavy clearing

    Construction of new composting toilet - ( perhaps !)
    Landscaping and gardening - as always !
    Planting and looking after a large protected organic kitchen garden.
    Casting some concrete deep-mulch boxes for the veg beds.
    Maintaining and improving camping facilities
    More gardening, including weeding, planting, pruning, watering, mowing…
    Giving a helping hand with a re-furbishment project in the guest house.

    The “Field Kitchen” is now completed - (Thanks to lots of hard work from many volunteers from WorkAway and another site !) It now provides a fabulous covered space with full cooking facilities and giant fridge, fireplace/barbeque, picnic table, charging sockets, wifi etc etc. It makes outdoor living a really joyful experience.

    We have also built a fabulous circular outdoor shower to which we have now added a solar hot water system – and we will be building a composting toilet as well.
    We have a hot shower, toilet and washing area at the main house. This has plenty of solar-heated water, and there is a washing machine available on request.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    French: Intermediate

    This host offers a language exchange
    The English language and literature was, in a way, my profession ...... so I'm very happy to help you perfect your "British" English if thats something that interests you.

  • Accommodation


    During the summer months we encourage camping in our beautiful canyon garden of several acres ...... this only requires that you have your own sleeping bag and mat and a torch (and we have plenty of good quality tents available if you need to borrow one - no problem) ..... ALL other facilities are provided centred around the covered Field Kitchen so you don't need full camping gear.

    If you have your own camper van there are a couple of good spots for that.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    SUMMER 2022

    We are hoping to form a SMALL group of great guys who can form a real team
    and who relish the idea of "Outdoors - With People - Doing something Constructive"
    A short intensive summer experience - work hard - play hard - are you up for that ?

    This year as well as all the gardening and maintenance, I am working on the guest house - bit of a refurb. going on there. I have moved my workshop from the guest house to a pre-prepared site nearby. There is a big project in the kitchen garden to try to make some concrete castings for raised beds - could be interesting. And there is a great project to complete the new three-sided and roofed building - this is to accommodate a beast - a really cool multi-gym. This is all work that I can and do manage on my own most of the time but it is much more fun to work alongside other people and it's particularly helpful to have someone competent and fun around so that the tasks can be shared, so, .... typically "How about I finish this and you rustle up some lunch ?" (or vice versa:-) might be a question. It seems the way things work best ........ and there is a way of life to share ...... which includes the occasional trip out and about ...... and so on ...... it's a rich and varied life, busy at times and at others the pace can be quite slow. You do need to be able to be happy with your own company too ...... you will need your space and time just as I do. In the past I used to host groups of up to nine ...... but this year the plan is to invite a small number volunteers at a time - this worked brilliantly last year and the year before.

    For what its worth my own interests are quite wide ranging ..... I like horses, classical music, reading (a lot), I travel when I can ...... I'm also a bit of a carpenter am quite fascinated by big engineering projects and am currently intrigued by the emerging story of electric pick-up trucks ...... so an eclectic mix.

    So there we are .... best I can do for a profile ...... and if you have questions then don't hesitate .... get in touch.

    So a couple of PS's are appropriate:

    It is really helpful for you and for me for you to READ THE BLOG before you propose yourself as a volunteer ...... just email me to ask for the URL. (Just to explain; web addresses are not permitted on this profile.) You will see that the blog
    is set up to describe the SUMMER CAMPS offer ...... this will give you a sense of the other strand to life here.
    This is a not-for-profit private campsite for small groups ...... so that may be going on while you are here (or not as the case may be) ....... in which case we may have to juggle accommodation for you as required ..... but basically the idea is that you and I will be working on other projects and interacting a bit of course, while these small groups are on site. But
    if you read that blog you will get a further sense of the place and, I guess, of me too !

    You need to be mature self-motivating and generous spirited to make this a fun and enriching time ...... I work hard myself ......I will be working alongside you ..... and I can't carry passengers - that merely adds to my workload - and that is not the plan ! So a smile and a willing spirit to join in are the chief things you need to bring !

    Also ......
    bring your reading/instrument/camera with you .... on site we have a piano, table-tennis, a slack line, some frisbies, a football, chess, multi-gym and a natural rock climbing/bouldering wall suitable for both beginners and experienced bouldering people. But here's the thing - you don't have to be good at any of this stuff - it's just here if you feel like giving it a try. Oh and there are two or three places to swim ...... that can be vital if the summer is hot.

    And ..... Finally ..... There's the question of COVID !! So ..... we've avoided any infection here so far .... and I'd like to keep it that way .... so please pay attention to this ...... when making arrangements to come I will ask you to assess the level of risk you represent in joining the group here.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    Yes ...... Internet available at the Field Kitchen ...... not the fastest in the world 7-8 Mgb. but unlimited. Fingers crossed we should be connected to FIBRE this year ..... (sometime?)

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    Yes ..... Very happy to host a small camper van or two ! Not too huge !

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    A friendly and well behaved dog would be fine - I have a Rough Collie here and he loves friendly canine company.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    No more than 4 Hours a day 4/5 days a week.

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Host ref number: 585176743163