Below is a full description of us, our home, our ponies and a description of the general help required throughout the year.
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. Our ponies have reduced in number a bit over the intervening years (now 25) and we have lots of 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. They are all our hobby. Mark enjoys watching rugby and cricket, playing an occasional game of golf and watching multiple murder mysteries. I work full time and travel a lot for work but enjoy walking and getting out in the spectacular countryside we live in during my time off. Much of our time is taken up with looking after our Shetland ponies and the farm. 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. 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.
When we have workawayers with us we always make a point of taking them out as often as we can to show them the local area. Recent 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. We often have friends over for a drink and an impromptu meal on the patio in the sunshine in the summer (yes we do get sunshine in Aberdeenshire) or for kitchen pot luck suppers in the winter 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.
Although we are in a small Glen there's 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. We also have an excellent 'pop-up' cafe one Saturday per month and they serve the most wonderful cakes! September is a good month to visit us as there is a big art exhibition in our local hall which runs for 12 days and is very popular especially the teas!
There is a small local group of enamellers who meet in the village hall on a fortnightly basis. It's a great hobby and we'd be happy for you to join us and learn a new skill. Some of our Workway visitors have participated and had a lot of fun.
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. Other than that we're fairly laid back.
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. 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.
If you come to stay with us we will show you how to look after our ponies, hens and introduce you to the tasks required on a small farm. There are jobs that need to be done every day such as the ponies need to be checked daily and water taken to them once a day. Two of them come in at night so there are stables to muck out, water buckets and haynets to be filled, the ponies need to be turned out in the morning and brought in late in the afternoon. We'll teach you all about looking after them while you're here. Our dogs also appreciate a couple of short walks a day. At certain times we have other tasks that need doing such as painting, weeding and fencing. In exchange for help with these tasks, we'll happily introduce you to our friends and neighbours and take you out and about in the local area as well as providing you with a nice comfortable home to stay in. 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.
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. Although a small community we have a very good local village hall which regularly hosts folk bands and ceilidhs. 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
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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