We have lived here for some seven years now and enjoy the local common tradition of “a less stressful pace of life/old fashioned principals’”. Previously we met and married whilst living in Suffolk, from where I originate. My husband is originally from Edinburgh, but worked and lived in Canada for some time. Now retired, my husband was a chartered account and volunteered for Citizens Advice in his spare time. I was an export manager for a large global access/construction company and volunteered as a “Samaritan” in my free time. Both of us being happier living in the countryside, rather than “in town”, we have a good sense of humour, are extrovert, hardworking, tenacious, understanding, openly honest and direct. Believing in the ethos “treat as you would like to be treated”. Enjoying challenges and projects with the aim to achieve the best possible outcome to whatever we turn our hand to.
Based outside of MacDuff, near Banff with transport links to Aberdeen/Inverurie/Elgin and surrounding areas, in a small rural close-knit farming community. There is also a local “linking” bus service passing the bottom of our lane. However, on occasion, during the day, we may be able to pop you off to the nearest most convenient starting point, being Turriff, MacDuff or Banff. From these “starting points” buses are available to take you to where ever you intend to explore/visit.
Surrounded by rolling farmland we have distant views of the Cairngorms and other hills/mountains. There are no immediate neighbours adjacent to our eight-acre property, which consists mostly of grassland with a small wood and lake. There is always a project or work in progress, life is never boring!
To be able to have insight into other cultures is something we have both enjoyed whilst we have travelled around the world. Meeting and sharing with a “Workaway couple” who, in return, also want to work alongside us would be a very special/unique experience. To enable us to all, get to know each other, we anticipate said couple possibly staying for a minimum of four weeks. (This may be vital if you are able to turn your hand/attention to our crumbling dry-stone walls!). Workawayers must be comfortable with animals as we have two dogs (Hungarian Vizla and Jack Russell) a cat and horse. Additionally, there are Badgers, Barn/Tawny owls/Bats/Roe deer/Frogs and Toads plus much more wandering around. May be fair to say if you love animals and wildlife you will appreciate our ethos, so please animal lovers only.
Although “mature” we are always actively on the go and need help to keep on top of the long list of “maintenance” jobs that require attention around here. Generally, we are “morning” people (early risers) and so work through the morning covering roughly five hours (during the week), which then leaves the afternoon to do other things. Weekends are free. However, during our “working week” we are easy going and quite open to working around different regimes. Whatever the task we would not ask anyone to undertake what we would not turn our hand to. The bonus with "cultural" differences could be very useful, different approaches may achieve the same result from another direction. Just don’t forget to bring your wellington boots or waterproof hiking boots!
DIY and building projects
We envisage a “mature couple” (25+) visiting us. By co-existing with you both, our aim would be to build a solid understanding and insight of our cultural differences. To establish a “working” mutually beneficial relationship on the many different levels. Being able to learn from each other different approaches/techniques to achieve the ideal end result.
Having travelled around the world, we always endeavoured to keep to the “grass roots” facets and gained a great deal. We enjoy and appreciate the opportunity of meeting and geting to know folks from where ever. In return we offer our friendship and support, sharing an insight into our culture.
In addition to the listed "tasks" above we need help with: general "outside" maintenance / exterior painting of doors, windows, etc.(with a bit of rubbing down too) / help sorting "electric" boundary horse fencing / erecting livestock fencing on established fencing / strimming and grass cutting (including using a quad bike with topper/sit on mower/self-propelled mower) / gardening/ground and woodland maintenance / dry stone walling - renovating our deteriorating stone walls / maintenance of horse arena, help needed to level the surface (rakes supplied!) / tidying up/sorting barns (de-cobwebbing!) / log splitting/stacking undercover / careful eradication of bamboo in lake / possibly some housework (if it's raining!) / help to finish off insulating end walls in internal stable yard.
Ideally, we would prefer for the Workaway couple to stay with us for a month (or maybe more) enabling us to all get to know/understand each other, share experiences and settle into a benificial routine. However, if this is not possible we are flexible. We appreciate your time and help!
The “main” house is of the typical Scottish “older” traditional style construction having an open plan living area extension to the rear, overlooking a park with views to the lake and fields.
Whilst staying and working with us, your main base will be in our Bothy. This is a totally self-contained “little house”, allowing you independence. Having a small and cosy double bedroom. Open plan lounge, living, kitchen area. There is free view television, an electric wood burner style fire (easier than a traditional wood burner and safer too!). The “kitchen area” is fully equipped with hob/oven/grill, microwave oven and all the “extras” one would expect in a “self-sufficient” holiday type home. The bathroom has a large double shower with all normal additions too. Hopefully during the spring/summer months, you will not need the central heating!
Vacuum cleaner will be supplied from the main house. We would expect you to keep The Bothy clean and looked after. Bed linen and towels will also be supplied. The washing machine is in the main house, for your weekly laundry, including bed linen.
With regard to food we intend to stock your kitchen larder with basic/daily staples for your everyday breakfast/snacks (subject to arrangement). Other meals Monday to Friday are “free range” and so we propose a “step in and step out” as is convenient for us all, allowing flexibility. On occasion, shared meals in the main house in the evening with you, during the week (if you’re up for it!?) showing/cooking some of your favourite cuisine. During the weekend you will be expected to cook for yourselves in The Bothy using the larder provided. We are not vegetarians, eating mostly a “normal” balanced meat-based diet but are open to other’s tastes too. Our aim is to make our “Workawayers” as welcome and comfortable as possible.
Although we have ticked the "smokers" box please note that I am an "ex-smoker" but now vape instead. Appreciating there are varied thoughts on this topic, we do not have any objection to "smokers", hence the tick; only asking that you enjoy a cigarette outside of the houses and not in the barns/stable yard. Thank you.
Upon your arrival we would pick you up from Turriff. Around Moray and Speyside there are miles of beaches (with some good surfing spots) and coastal walks, with scenic countryside. Additionally the Dolphin centre; noted areas for sightings of Basking Sharks, Porpoises, Minke Whales and seals at Port Gordon; ruins of Duffus Castle; Duff house in Banff, with its permanent art collection from The National Galleries of Scotland; Findhorn Foundation – an Eco village, to which the community welcomes visitors; the famous Whiskey Trail; Cullen boasts a natural sea arch “Bow Fiddle Rock”, where you can also sample the renown Cullen Skink ( a thick Scottish soup made of smoked haddock, onions and potatoes); Pennon is a quaint small fishing village famed as the location of the film “Local Hero”, with its renown red telephone box. Should you wish Aberdeen, Inverurie, Elgin, along with many other places are waiting to be discovered. Please refer to previous sections with regard to transport links.
We are generally lucky and do not suffer from midges in this area. The “micro-climate” is mostly kind to us. However, especially earlier in the year, wellington boots/water proof working boots are essential along with general working wear, thermals, hats and warm wear, water proofs and some cosy gear. If you intend to hike etc. appropriate attire is necessary.
PLEASE NOTE: It is very important that if either of you are from outside the E.E.C./European Union and are anticipating visiting the United Kingdom not as a tourist but intending to work you MUST have the correct visas. To ascertain the necessary information you both should contact either the British Consulate or British Embassy in your home country BEFORE travelling to the United Kingdom. Should you not have the necessary/correct documentation it may well result in deportation and or fines.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week