Experience this beautiful rural farming area and help on a smallholding with animals on the Black Ilse, Scotland, UK


United Kingdom


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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Hello, I am Sally Ann. I am 66 and should be retired but like to be active. I live almost fulltime on the Black Ilse just north of Inverness. I look after the smallholding which has cows, donkeys, pigs, and hens, a polytunnel and panoramic views. We are working to improve the smallholding which is a lot of physical work but it is great being outside and surrounded by views and animals!

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help in the house
    Animal care
    Language practice

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Beautiful rural farming area. Learn about working with different kinds of animals and looking after a smallholding, fencing, digging, planting, maybe dry stone walling, building wooden shed. Practise English (I am ESOL qualified) Learn the history of this part of Scotland and visit amazing places in the Highlands. Meet other people living on the Black Ilse at a social event such as a meal or a short visit. Can meet up with other Workawayers locally. Occasionally Scottish events are held, and there are Saturday local markets or small scale concerts or performances held from time to time.

  • Help


    Come and help us on our smallholding with our animals and poultry, polytunnel and 6.1 hectares. You may be doing some of the following: feeding hay to cows and counting and checking them and their water supply; mixing up the feed, feeding and scratching 2 sows; letting out, feeding, cleaning out, and enjoying the 44 hens, wiping, boxing and labelling eggs; bringing in 2 donkeys and a donkey foal into a stable for feeding, brushing (which they love) and cleaning out their hooves; plus now looking after two tame hens as well!
    You may also do some weeding, strimming, lifting cow manure, pulling thistles,cutting and moving gorse, moving pallets and tidying around on site, so you would need to be confident with animals and energetic and fit as it is physical activity. There is a quad bike and trailer which are useful for some jobs.
    We take it in turns to cook or if someone is keen to cook, then we would cover some of the other jobs in exchange.
    The hours are 8-10 in the morning 5 days a week doing the animals and poultry and 1 hour late afternoon plus locking the chickens up at night (after dusk), and 10 hours extra time on site during those 5 days. The two days off may not be together and may not be at the weekend as animals needs 24/7 care, so we do tasks together to make sure their welfare is sorted and agree our days off together.
    The smallholding is about 6 hectares and it has panoramic scenery looking to the Cromarty Firth and the hills to the north. It is very quiet with no traffic passing - the nearest shop is 7 miles away! - and there is very limited public transport and what there is isn't nearby (about 2 miles and hilly!), (but I give a lift to the bus stop) so be sure you would be happy to be staying in a rural area like this. If you enjoy walking, peace and quiet and being in the countryside then this would suit you. But I am also generous about driving to visit places on the Black Isle and sometimes further afield (like Culloden or Loch Ness). There are good places to see on the Black Isle such as Cromarty which is a traditional Scottish picturesque small town with fishing cottages, beach, harbour, lighthouse, cafes, courthouse, pottery, bakery and interesting shops, Rosemarie has a wonderful sandy beach with shells and pebbles and a great cliff walk or stroll to Chanonry point, maybe see dolphins, walk along the Faerie Glen (valley) to the waterfall, visit the cafe in Fortrose, the surviving walls of the very old cathedral, and the adjacent former courthouse, St. Andrews church and the view down to Fortrose harbour. Just driving round the Black Isle (actually a peninsula) with its forestry and patchwork colours of fields and the sea all round as open water or pretty bays is a real pleasure. Loch Ness is about 45 mins away and on your day off you can get the train up the East coast to Helmsdale or head west to Ullapool or Skye. Plenty of good places to eat out also, some with amazing views, Scottish dishes and great fish and chips (Allangrange, Sutor Creek, Storehouse, Culbokie Inn...) which we do at least once a week. If you drive and are over 25, I may be able to insure you to drive the elderly but reliable VW Golf based at the smallholding. We go food shopping once a week in Dingwall which has Lidl's and Tesco's, three butchers, two bakers ,and a range of other clothes, charity, tourist, sweet, ice cream, antique, book, hardware chemist shops ... Distilleries nearby are Dalmore, Balblair, Glen Morangie, ...

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken


  • Accommodation


    Single or double room in a mobile home. The mobile home is well equipped with expansive, panoramic views. Shower room, kitchen and sitting room. If you do the cooking, I provide the ingredients and we go shopping once a week or we take cooking in turns. There is super fast internet.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Walk in the forestry or in the fields, by the sea or on footpaths nearby.
    I can give lifts to places when I am going shopping or doing other tasks in Inverness or Dingwall.
    The buses go to Cromarty or to Inverness via small towns like Rosemarkie, Fortrose and Avoch.
    You can get a train to Kyle of Lochalsh or Helmsdale from Dingwall and back in a day, and enjoy the amazing scenery and a visit to these small towns. You can get to Loch Ness by bus via Inverness.
    You can get a bus to visit Cromarty, a small town on the Cromarty Firth with interesting houses, small museums, art gallery and walks along the coast or take a walk through the woods to the cliff top (South Sutor). The bus from Cromarty (26) goes via Rosemarkie (lovely beach with beach cafe), Fortrose small town with cafes, hand made jewellery and art shop, cathedral ruins, Episcopalian Church, small harbour and walks, Avoch fishing village with a good walk along the waterfront, Inverness city with wide range of shops and also walk along the River Ness or the canal towards Loch Ness, or get the bus from Inverness to Loch Ness.
    I can usually give you a lift to the Newhall or Resolis school bus stop.
    If you drive and are over 25, a car (20 year old VW Golf) may be available for use. You would pay for the additional insurance.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    3 regular hours a day 5 days a week (8-10am and 1 hr late afternoon) and 10 hours help on site10 hours

Host ref number: 821183795473

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