Are you are flexible, helpful, spiritual and communicative......able to do basic gardening and not afraid of ‘weather’! You need a good command of English and MUST be able to communicate well, strong enough to move music equipment (I used to do it myself!), work on your own initiative and take instruction! You might fit in well here?!
My name is Lesley, I live in the beautiful highland coastal village of Brora. Currently working (more than) part time as a respite support worker, run my own business and sing solo as well as in a 7 piece blues/rock band so I am pretty busy - plus I am getting on a bit now!! Having had major spinal surgery just over 4 years ago and suffering from Arthritis I need help with most household tasks including vacuuming, washing dishes, laundry, ironing, gardening, up-cycling projects, general maintenance, so it may appeal to someone with an interest in artistic projects, music, gardening and the great outdoors!!!
It is an easy going household so if you enjoy cleaning, 'fixing up', decorating, gardening etc there are plenty of 'odd jobs' that need attention! I prefer someone confident and mature, (mid - late 20's up) who has experience, able to work on their own and use common sense and initiative, it is easier if you know how to do the basic tasks mentioned above...........There's always plenty to keep you busy - it's a big old property.
I write a bit of poetry, dabble in painting and have an interest in photography - and this is the right part of the world for all of these activities. I also like to cook - and good Scottish (and International) fare is often on the table using whatever is in season. However, I am pretty adventurous and happy for you to prepare the main evening meal - I always use good quality produce, have the basics in the cupboard/fridge but open to discussions about what and when to eat. We normally have a simple breakfast (porridge/granola/cereal) and lunch is quick and easy ie soup, bread, cheese, fruit etc.....with a proper evening meal! There is plenty of cupboard space so you are welcome to buy your own snacks or items I don't tend to keep. I don’t eat wheat/gluten and veer towards vegetarian meals, (although I do eat meat). However, if I am away or have a day off you may need to prepare meals or provide your own dinner occasionally.
The scenery, fauna, flora, light and general way of highland way of life is conducive to creativity - so it may suit someone who loves tranquility, walking, wildlife, fishing, golf, history, writing, painting....there is so much to see and do - so on your time off you will never be bored. No two days are the same! However, Brora, although remote is a very sociable place with plenty of opportunities to practice your English (with a Scottish accent!) and speaking with locals and tourists makes it rewarding and fun! I am more than happy to help improve your English .
The core household is me, and right now my friend from the US - both mature women with strong personalities! I have a male lodger who is up golfing staying here at the moment too. There are often friends visiting and other guests in the summer months, previous Workawayers from all over the world come back to see me from time to time as well......so it can be busy! Plans can change from day to day, sometimes hour to hour!!
With my experience using Workaway so far it seems that this placement is best suited to POSITIVE/FLEXIBLE and reliable people in their mid 20s or older, with experience of looking after a home, garden etc. You need to be confident in your own abilities, have a decent command of spoken English, know how to make a bed, iron, cook (even a little), wash dishes, vacuum, basic gardening and also be happy to spend time on your own, reading, walking or just chilling out. There is not a lot 'to do' in this part of the world, unless you like history, hiking, beaches and nature! My home is neither an 18-30s club nor a hotel - so if you want to be out at the pub every evening or coming in in the middle of the night.....it is perhaps not the place for you! Remember, it can be cold (and wet!) up here in the winter, (even in summer)......so bring warm clothing, indoor shoes/slippers and boots!!!
I am generally friendly and talkative....so conversation is great - it is best if you are able to really communicate - and although the house is not noisy, there is occasionally music and laughter and sometimes friends visiting! However, everyone still needs their own space and the house is big enough for us not to be 'on top' of each other too and the garden is lovely on summer evenings, just to sit outside and have a glass of something cold. It is also great for you to go off exploring for a couple of days...visit some local landmarks, head to the West Coast or see Inverness - all possible on public transport. I am happy for you to take short trips - Orkney, Edinburgh, Glasgow etc......as long as it fits in with what is happening here. Flights from Inverness to lots of places in the UK and abroad.......
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
The opportunities are here........to paint or just be on a fantastic, empty beach - watch seals, dolphin, porpoises, Orca, deer, otter, birds of prey and the stars/Aurora......traditional and other live music, Neolithic, Pictish and Celtic sites....Castles, Brochs, Cairns, so much history in this part of the world!! Archaeological sites and ruins......... The role of this part of Scotland in the 2nd World War - with our Radio Station, beach protectors and bunkers in the far north and the Naval shelter offered by Orkney.
I am only just over an hour away from John 'O' Groats, ferry to Orkney, Inverness, Aviemore, the Moray Coast, the West Coast....with ferries to the Hebrides and about 3 hours drive to Skye......giving an ideal position to explore the rest of the north Highlands - make the most of your time here....I am happy for you to go off for a few days (as long as it fits in with what's going on!) if you are here for a few weeks!
I like to up-cycle old furniture, you will have the opportunity to learn how to create exciting window and shop displays......see how a band functions, hear different music, witness the work involved in putting on a solo performance as a singer. Experience first hand life in a small Highland village.......a way of life that is becoming more uncommon these days! During the summer months we have Highland Games, County Shows, Scarecrow Festivals, Golf Tournaments, Whiskey Festivals and Village Carnivals - great fun! I have been truly blessed with most of the volunteers I have had previously - and experienced wonderful cultural, musical, energetic and spiritual exchanges - and made some friends for life!
If you are happy to do housework, light gardening, painting or general 'odd jobs' there are always things that you can do - this is a big old house and always needs a little TLC - so you can come any time of year. A 'can do' attitude is helpful as the duties required can change on a day to day or sometimes hour to hour basis.....depending on the weather, gigs. bookings, health!! Confidence, a cheerful disposition and a willingness to just 'muck in' is great too! Experience in all household/gardening duties is preferred. I enjoy cooking and housekeeping and believe all work that needs to be done is worth doing well and happily, so I expect the same in others.....a positive outlook and willingness to try new things is essential. Enthusiasm goes a long way!
If I am performing solo gigs.......I need someone strong to help move my PA equipment (I used to be able to do it myself!) - and load in/out of the car. When I sing with the 7 piece blues band I do not have to move any of the gear etc.....but if you want to travel to gigs with me you are more than welcome. However, you will have to pay for your own B&B/food etc. Gigs are not every week.....just as and when booked. I may have to go away singing overnight or for a few days (perhaps at a festival) which means you could be looking after the house whilst I'm not around.
I am very flexible with the hours you volunteer - I can be up and out as early as 08:00...however, if you like to be up with the lark the time is yours to go for a walk, run on the beach or just have a relaxing time - that suits me! You will usually start volunteering around 10am and will work for 4-5 hours per day - but flexibility is required and reciprocated! There can be busy spurts.......and lulls.....each day/week has it's own flow and we just go with it!
MATURITY is also helpful as I do not like to be around petulant or moody behaviour - an ability to communicate in an adult manner helps keep this a happy house! Although I do enjoy a drink occasionally, I am not big on going to the pub - and don't appreciate volunteers coming in at all hours! It can be disruptive for the entire household.
I own a vintage shop (which is next door to the house).......and I like anything old, unusual, hand made.......so if you are quirky and artistic you will fit right in!! It is great if you have an interest in fashion/design, history, textiles etc.
Maybe some helpful hints for my social media pages, young people know so much!! photographs through someone else's lens are always interesting.......
As I speak a little French, German and Spanish - I am always happy if someone can help me to improve my languages!
You will usually have your own room with a single bed (but occasionally may have to sleep on the sofa or in the caravan for a few days if there are lots of visitors) and use of the kitchen/diner and garden.
The house is old fashioned and eclectic - with enough room to have your own space - but comfortable.....home from home! There is an open fire in the living room, new double glazing to all windows.....there is central heating throughout the house - but if you come from sunnier climes be ready to wrap up in the colder months, (sometimes in summer too)! Even with heating it can still be cold......bring slippers!!!
I am easy going and relaxed, used to sharing my home! I am not big on routine - so if you like a very detailed regimen this is perhaps NOT for you. Things CAN change here on a daily basis......FLEXIBILITY and MATURITY ARE KEY!!!! I am in my (late) 50s, not a big fan of going to the pub, mostly go out to sing, see bands or eat (occasionally). I do enjoy a drink sometimes though - good wine (or Gin/Whisky), food and conversation.....all make me happy!
Brora is an attractive highland village on the NE coast of Scotland with stunning scenery and beaches - fantastic open countryside for walking and less than 60 miles from Inverness....with trains and buses running regularly - easy to access other parts of the country. There's always lots of Highland Games, Carnivals, Gala Weeks, Shows etc in the summer months....whatever the weather......
We're on the north coast 500 route which is bringing more visitors to our area and have 3 of the most famous Links Golf courses in the world on the doorstep....in Brora, Golspie and Dornoch! The River Helmsdale and the Brora are famous Salmon rivers and there are places to watch the salmon leaping. There is horse riding available - trek along the golden sands or visit historic places like Dunrobin Castle, Castle of Mey, Castle Urquhart at Loch Ness - the Orkney Islands are possible on a day trip - go whale/dolphin watching - John 'O' Groats and Cromarty have boat trips.....
Train or bus from Brora to Inverness with connections to International stations and Airports in Glasgow, Edinburgh......and other places in Scotland/UK and flights to the rest of the UK and a few European countries from Inverness Airport - and not too expensive! Please do note however that Brora is a small, fairly isolated highland village.......public transport links are only a few times a day to larger towns - and Inverness.......so any travel plans should be checked out in advance.
If I have free time I am always up for a day out and often take a trip to the west or north coast, visit old harbours, villages and cairns...I love showing visitors around this beautiful part of my country!!!
Also if I am not too busy - I'm happy to encourage singing with you and perhaps go to the beach with paints and easel to experience free art......and creativity! Come along to gigs and soak in the Scottish music scene - with the possibility of seeing all types of local & international musicians and bands - including the Fèis Chataibh Ceilidh Trail - Pipe bands, local festivals, village Fete's and Gala's, Carnivals and Highland Games!
Final words....Please do not arrange to come if you are not committed to having the best experience possible! Make sure you read my profile, be honest about your capabilities and experience. Check out your travel options beforehand - I am in the far NE of Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands - it can be quite a journey! If you change your mind, for any reason, please LET ME KNOW, don’t mess around on dates (once we have confirmed), or not turn up/not inform me. (There are sometimes extenuating circumstances I understand!) People do sometimes stay longer than they first planned, which is lovely, I prefer longer stays - as long as both parties are happy it makes for an enjoyable, rewarding exchange!!
Workawayers are welcome visitors and often great company. My friends really enjoy the positive energy that comes from meeting my volunteers and we love hosting new people from other parts of the world! You will always be invited somewhere - the locals love to find out about strangers! Your main reasons for visiting might be to get the best, unexpected result by spending time out of your own comfort zone, seeing some of the wonderful Highlands of Scotland, getting to know the history, people & culture, in addition to the fantastic natural scenic beauty & wildlife, hiking, beachcombing and other outdoor activities. I will do my best to make your time here a wonderful experience.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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