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Below is a full description of us, our home, our ponies and a description of what volunteers can expect when they come to stay with us.
COVID means we've had to re-think how we can accommodate Workaway volunteers now. Ideally we’re looking for longer term volunteers (1 month or longer) but can be flexible. We've both been fully vaccinated for COVID and are doing all we can to minimise the risk of transmission for ourselves and our volunteers so that we all have a safe place to stay here in this beautiful rural Glen.
COVID of course brings with it restrictions that we must all adhere to so you must not be displaying any signs of COVID prior to arrival and depending upon your travel circumstances prior to coming to us you may need to self-isolate for up to 14 days at the start of your stay depending on Government guidelines. We will provide food for you during this time and a large, comfortable room to stay in. You will have access to outside space for exercise too. We are happy to self-isolate prior to your arrival or can do so along with you when you arrive. Just to reiterate our aim is to keep both you and us safe and well.
So having said all that if you would like to spend time in a remote Scottish Glen helping us to look after our Shetland ponies, dogs and hens, meeting our friends and neighbours whilst observing physical distancing and immersing yourself in a friendly small community please read on. As a result of COVID many of our social activities in the glen have been on hold but now that restrictions are easing these are resuming. Our popular monthly pop up cafe is back as are some music gigs at the hall. Enamelling and art classes have also resumed and volunteers are welcome to attend these on a drop in basis.
As there is no public transport nearby you will largely be based at our home but of course you are very welcome to join us on regular grocery shopping trips and others to collect feed for the ponies. We will also take you around the local area to see some of the beautiful scenery and if time allows will aim to go a little further afield too.Trips have been to some of the small towns and villages on Royal Deeside such as Ballater and Braemar and up to the Moray Coast to Nairn and the beautiful little coastal village of Findhorn. Lots of beautiful white sandy beaches to walk on and pub lunches too. Again subject to COVID restrictions, we often have friends over for a drink and kitchen pot luck suppers or patio lunches and the workawayers we've had with us so far have enjoyed joining in, meeting our friends and learning about our way of life in a small community.
Below is a general description of our home, life and what volunteers can expect.
We moved to Scotland in 2008 with our herd of 35 Shetland ponies to convert an old steading into our family home. I'm glad to say that it's now completed! We have 48 acres of land and a small number of farm buildings. We stopped breeding ponies ten years ago and our numbers have reduced with time to 18 ponies many of whom are now golden oldies. These together with our three hens and two dogs; a German Schnauzer dog called Rebus (6years old) and a young Patterdale x Lakeland Terrier called Loki make up our menagerie. Although we live on a farm, we are not farmers and this isn't a business. The ponies are purely a very expensive hobby! Mark enjoys watching sport of all kinds, reading and watching multiple murder mysteries. I work full time and currently in line with lots of people am working from home. Much of our time is taken up with looking after our Shetland ponies and the land on which they are kept. Although we are fairly remote there are other homes within sight and everyone is very friendly and welcoming. We have two bicycles for visitors to use and can pick up from Aberdeen airport or railway and bus stations at Inverurie or Insch.
Breakfast and lunch is self service - the fridge and cupboards are well stocked. Mark usually cooks for all of us in the evening although we are always happy for Workawayers to cook an evening meal or two for us all while they are with us if they'd like to do so. Sharing food experiences are one of the best things about Workaway! We aren't smokers ourselves and don't allow smoking in the house. Workawayers are very welcome to consume their own alcohol while staying with us but we don't supply it ourselves.
Although we are in a small Glen there's usually a lot going on here with excellent bands from all over the world playing in the local hall. The volunteers who've stayed with us have enjoyed attending these and also learning how to do some of the Scottish ceilidh dances! There's a local walking group who meet regularly and take their packed lunches and head off into the hills for 3 - 4 hours and this has proved popular with workawayers.
Experience with Workaway visitors has proved it's better to set out the house rules in advance, few though they are e.g. we all muck in to do the washing up after meals (although this is limited as we have a dishwasher), general cleaning around the house as required and hoovering. We ask that volunteers keep their bedrooms clean and tidy during their stay and clean them when they leave. Volunteers working days are usually Monday - Friday with weekends off although we do ask you to be flexible with days worked as sometimes things crop up which may mean a change of days is required. Other than that we're fairly laid back.
All volunteers must ensure that they have the correct visa's for entry into and stays in the UK especially taking into account BREXIT.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
We treat all workawayers like members of our family and they are welcome to join in with anything we are doing. We always try to take them on trips in the local area and introduce them to our friends. if COVID restrictions allow. We will show them how to look after our Shetland ponies and introduce them to the stunning Scottish landscape we live in. They will get the use of a comfortable bedroom with en-suite bathroom and the other rooms within our home.
Recent volunteers have been getting out and about in the local area using our bikes and have accompanied us on several outings - it's great getting to know them and learning about their own life styles, homes and the countries they've visited.
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
If you come to stay with us we will show you how we look after our ponies and hens and introduce you to the tasks related to the stables and the land on which the ponies graze. Tasks are repetitive, that is the nature of animal ownership and we have to check the ponies daily and take water to them once a day. Three ponies come in at night in the winter so each day we have to muck out their stables, fill water buckets and haynets, turn them out in the morning and bring them in late in the afternoon. We'll teach you all about looking after ponies while you're here in return for help from you with these tasks. We'll all be undertaking these daily tasks. Our dogs also have a couple of walks a day and most volunteers like to come with us.
Although we live on a farm, we are not farmers and this isn't a business. The ponies are purely a hobby.
Large ensuite bedrooms in a warm comfy steading conversion.
We are in a very rural scenic Scottish Glen with no public transport available. The area is ideal for anyone who likes hill walking or mountain biking as the hills start at the end of our drive. If you have a car we are close to the Lecht Ski Slopes which is very popular with skiers and snow boarders in the winter months. This is a very beautiful part of the Cairngorms National Park and all of our Workaway visitors to date have enjoyed themselves both in the area and getting to know our friends.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host can provide space for campervans.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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