Holiday / events venue in the wilds of the Cairngorm National Park, Scotland


United Kingdom

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 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

  • Description



    We are a family run venue with self catering accommodation sleeping up to 30 guests on site. At the heart, a beautiful granite Georgian homestead, split into 6 separate rentals sat right on the edge of the Abernethy Forest and a mile from the village of Nethy Bridge. A huge nordic tipi with central open fireplace sits amongst the tall granny pines and plays host to many events throughout the year, together with being booked privately by the our in house guests.
    It has been in Polly's family since the 1960's and since we took over 10 years ago it has gone through several phases of development. Firstly focussing on upgrading and renovating all of the accommodation, cutting the cloth as we had it and doing most of the work ourselves.
    Then, through our own passions, developing the event infrastructure in order to diversify and begin to host some of the 'fun stuff'
    Most recently and with the enforced hiatus of Covid, it's been a time to really focus in on guest experience. Family time, holidays and retreats will be so precious after whats been and we have been looking at ways for our guests to accelerate into holiday mode as soon as they hit the ground. Creating ways in which to make the most of their time by offering some very grounding, nature focussed activities, such as our Wild Club for the kids or a walking sound meditation in the forest and developing our Grocer which is filled with nutritious ready meals using ingredients from the garden to be popped into their cottage on arrival.
    We are enhancing this further by building an onsite reception which will house the Grocer along with a coffee machine, hot croissants in the morning and perhaps an evening vibe of wine and tunes spilling out into the low summer sun.
    There are literally a million dreams and plans, it never stands still and we are always open to opportunity, choosing to reinvent ourselves and run at our passions. In this near future we're looking at enhancing our wellbeing offering, programming our Tipi with more music, creative workshops and community focussed events. We want to grow more food, create more magical spaces and allow our guests to truly slow down within the environment we provide.
    We want to be able to say yes to opportunities that are a truly perfect fit, because we have a strong team, truly with us and focussed on a common goal.

    In line with how the project has morphed and grown over the last decade, it has also seen many different formulae for its crew.
    To begin with it was just us with a little help on changeover days. During our renovation phase we saw a wonderful flow of Workawayers join us from all over the world; stay for a few months, some much longer, always bringing something unique and leaving a little footprint at the project. This was a wonderful, lively period but difficult to sustain as we craved a steady crew that we could train and grow with.
    Which is what we found next and our current team have all been with us for four years.
    They are now all heading off in different directions and new ventures so we are left with this rather unique and exciting opportunity to re-write the format slightly, really dialling in to what the project needs next and finding the right, vibrant people to move it forward.
    We don’t know who will come our way and which wacky combination of skills they’ll have but at the absolute heart of it they need to be deeply passionate about what they do. Truly hospitality minded and focussed on creating the most special guest experience going. Be able to jump about with us as we shift and grow in this wonderful, limitless place we call home.
    Be in love with this unique part of the world and be comfortable with the wilderness of it all as there will be plenty of chances to explore it.

    Being part of a tiny team you need to be flexible. There will be times when we're covering each others back or having to bunch together for those big pushes; events, huge turnover days and winter maintenance are all hands on deck.
    We're selective about the events that we do host here now and they're a really good fit with our identity with a focus on wellbeing, music, small intimate family gatherings / weddings. We do rely on our team as a whole to collectively feed off the buzz of an event and be genuinely hospitality focussed in making in great.

    We have worked in hospitality for the last 20 years, we work with integrity and from the heart. We have always worked together as a partnership and our crew is a simple extension of this. We genuinely love what we do and we want it to be the best it can be. Simple.
    We do now need to write ourselves out of the day to day operations. We have made the decision to move to the farm house 100yards down the road to create a little space between our home and work. Our little boys have been very forgiving so far but it's time for them. We also need to have the time and brain space to work on the development of this dear place and not miss the opportunity to take it in line with our aspirations.

    Trust, Respect, Communication and Team wellbeing are at the roots of a strong team and we really value time spent together when we're not in the throngs of work.
    With our team we want to understand what really floats your boat in order to nurture your passions and see how we can fit them into the project.

    We are currently looking for a Head of Housekeeping and a Care Taker which are both live in positions.
    See below for full job descriptions.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    We have good local knowledge and social connections in the valley. We also have a friend who runs an English language class 5 miles away on a Wednesday and Friday evening, which we welcome those who are keen to practice a new language to attend.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Host offers payment in line with the minimum wage

    Host offers payment in line with the minimum wage

    This host offers accommodation and payment.

    Host has indicated that they will pay at least the minimum hourly wage of their country for each hour worked and that accommodation will also be provided. They are asking for help with a business or business activity. Contact the host directly via the site messenger for more information and details about the wage provided. Any arrangements should be agreed in advance with your host.

  • Help


    The Head of housekeeping is like the central cog of the project and a well valued role.

    During big turnover days, the whole team works together with you but ultimately you are responsible. You will lead the team and set the standards high.
    Exceptional housekeeping has always been paramount even when at the start we had cottages on the brink of retirement, so long as it was spotless, it could be accepted.
    We have put a lot of energy into creating comfortable, cosy, relaxed spaces where our guests can feel instantly at home and not worried about messing it up with kids and dogs and parties.

    Interiors are a big obsession of Polly's and we always welcome creative input to change these spaces around and make them better.

    Our head of housekeeping role is not just about cleaning.
    Quality of linen, good water pressure, comfy beds, luxurious thick towels, interesting holiday reads, beautiful wild flowers, sourcing and supporting local artists, the best chocolate brownies, fresh paint, a careful selection of vinyl, warm bread and fresh eggs delivered to your door. These are a few of our favourite things and the stuff that make the difference between a memorable self catering holiday or not, and ultimately a return booking.
    Our changeover days are generally on a Monday and Friday with a day on either side to prepare and de-camp / process laundry.
    We currently send all our sheets away to a local laundry in Aviemore and launder all our towels in house. As a whole we have a real focus on making choices that reduce the impact on environment. In this department, we run an electric gator for all jobs around the place, and always use eco cleaning products in our laundry.

    As Head housekeeper the bones of your job will be -

    Leading a cleaning team of up to 4/5 on big changeover days but being able to work alone on smaller ones.

    Management of laundry including product stock control and ordering.
    Ensuring all records and checklists are completed and updated in line with any current

    Accommodation maintenance - This is something we're really hot on. Your attention over the small details as well as the bigger picture. First impressions are so important. The accommodation has to be immaculately maintained; no wobbly toilet seats, dud light bulbs, leaky taps. The project is over 200 years old so this is a constant challenge. We both fix on the hoof, bring in trade when its beyond our capability and annually do a complete refresh in each accommodation.

    On site host - This role is a live in position and part of your role will be the point of contact for our guests. To cover the caretakers days off this may mean lighting fires / setting up the Tipi / closing things down at the end of the evening. We love our guests to feel spontaneous while they're here so we need to be of the mindset to help them facilitate this.

    Event Crew - Being part of a small team, part of your role will be to assist on events.
    Each one is different but we are selective on the ones that fit the vibe and have
    worked out a strong formula to make it work well.
    We genuinely thrive off the buzz of an event and need a team that does the same.
    Completely hospitality focussed and with common goals.

    Grounds - Housekeeping does extend out-with the walls of the project and its important you have an overview of the grounds and a keenness to support the Caretaker in keeping everything tidy and well looked after.

    Accommodation is on site in a three bedroom semi detached bungalow with private garden and no bills.

    The Care Taker role here is an exciting opportunity for an individual or couple to share the role, live here and really get to grips with the operations of this business.

    We need the Care Taker to be exactly that. Someone who has a really keen eye over the place as a whole, tuned into guest experience and first impressions and have the skills to take care of this dear old place.
    In line with the development of our wellbeing elements here we want to grow more food and we care better for the land we sit on. We want to make strong connections for the guests in a way which grounds them and allows them to accelerate into holiday mode fast. It's important and the environment and ambiance needs to be right.
    Our wee family have lived in one of the cottages for the last 10 years, doubling up as the reception. This year however we are moving to the neighbouring farmhouse and building a stand alone reception in the grounds. We'll only be 100yds away but the key contact will be the responsibility of the caretaker in the first instance, who will reside in the bungalow which lies separately from the guest accommodation.

    As Care Taker the bones of your job will be -

    On site host - This is a live in position and alongside the assistant manager you will be the point of contact for the guests; always available for their needs, open to make time for a chat in passing and be able to respond to any issues that arise. We love our guests to feel spontaneous while they're here so we need to be of the mindset to help them facilitate this. You will be responsible for much of the evening set up; lighting fires, bbq's, setting up the Tipi and closing everything down safely at the end of the evening. You will also be the contact for any late check ins and be around for guests checking out to assist with luggage so flexible hours will be required and managed to accommodate.

    Grounds management - In reality this list doesn't really ever end (!) Seasonally we run from cutting grass to collecting leaves to shovelling snow. The place sits on 4 beautiful acres of mixed lawns, gardens and forest. Parts are wild and natural and we want them to remain that way but we have dreams of creating wild flower meadows, enhancing the kids area to create magical little zones and replanting some of the hardwoods that surround the place.

    Food production - We would love to grow more on site and it would be ideal if you have prior knowledge and experience of this. Our veg patch has always been rushed and neglected, grand plans giving way to the realities of busy summer seasons. We have lots of mature fruit trees and have recently planted another small orchard. Produce supplies our Retreats and Grocer which is a really popular addition and has huge scope for growth and variety.
    Longer term dreams down the line see a much bigger expansion of this, with hopes to
    establish a not for profit market garden. Creating a local circular economy for food supply,
    producing zero waste and really trying to make a difference locally to where our food
    comes from. We look to supply our local vicinity and educate through nutrition focussed
    workshops and retreats.

    Gardens - There are many mature flower beds surrounding the place which need constant attention. We do love the wild country appearance but there is a limit! With proper knowledge and experience these beds could be so much better and it's essential that you have strong previous gardening experience to nurture this. It is helpful if you have had previous experience with large garden machinery; ride on lawnmower / chainsaw / strimmer.

    Hen Keeper - We have recently introduced a beautiful brood of hens to the place which again supply the Grocer and also go into our welcome brownies. You would be responsible for looking after them, replacing their bedding once a week and monitoring their health.

    Waste Management - Between all of the accommodations, we produce a lot of waste and we are very focussed on disposing of this correctly. We have an enormous compost system for the garden which needs constant management and we send as much of the waste to Richies Recycling Plant. You would be responsible for monitoring the bins, liaising with Ritchies and ensuring correct bins are out for collection at the correct time. We also have portaloos on site which need regular emptying and again you would monitor and liasie with Heilan Loos.

    Maintenance - It would be extremely useful if you have skills and experience in general maintenance. The place is a 200 year old property and constantly needs maintained. For the bigger plumbing / electrics tasks we have local trades but you need to have a constant awareness of the fabric of the place and be able to jump quickly to fix issues that could impact a guests experience. This could range from unblocking drains (sorry!) to fixing a TV or knowing how to manage our idiosyncratic wifi system. A lot of these tasks are 'learn on the job' and would be clearly handed over, but it would be useful if you're comfortable with the basics.
    Winter jobs include moving through the accommodation, refreshing paintwork, sanding
    floors, fixing a snagging list and doing an intensive clean so they are fresh for the Spring
    season. This is a full team task and needs to be completed to a clear time table.
    We often have small building projects on the go where we bring in a skilled joiner and you
    may be required to work alongside them.

    Event Crew - Being part of a small team, part of your role will be to assist on events.
    Each one is different but we are selective on the ones that fit the vibe and have
    worked out a strong formula to make it work well.
    We genuinely thrive off the buzz of an event and need a team that does the same.
    Completely hospitality focussed and with common goals.

    Housekeeping Team - Being part of a small team, on busy changeover days which can take place up to twice a week at peak times you will be needed to support the housekeeping team. This usually takes the form of clearing out cottages after check out, processing laundry and refuse and assisting with the cleaning tasks. Previous experience of housekeeping is useful but full training on our system will be given.

    Accommodation is on site in a three bedroom semi detached bungalow with private garden and no bills.

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    Accommodation is in a three bedroom bungalow set in the grounds of the place.
    Its central to the guest accommodation but does offer some privacy.
    The accommodation will be provided free of charge with no bills.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The house is set on the edge of the Abernethy Forest within the Cairngorm National Park and its a fantastic base for exploring on foot, by bike or on the river.
    Leading out from the house is a massive network of forest paths, teaming with bird and wildlife, nearby lochs are great for a hot summer wild swim and the area is a dream for mountain bike enthusiasts.
    With our approximate schedule of 5 hours, 5 days a week this leaves plenty of time to explore the local area.

  • 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

    This host has indicated that they love having digital nomads stay.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Full time or job share

Host ref number: 763771516994