Update February 2021:
Travel for work and volunteering is allowed at this time in the UK and hopefully restrictions will ease over the next few months, so we are happy to welcome volunteers this year. If you come from outside the UK be aware that all international arrivals in Scotland have to go through hotel quarantine now, at the cost of £1750. The rest of the UK only requires people from red list countries (make sure to check the government website) to do the hotel quarantine, the rest can do just two weeks of self isolation.
We live on a seafront croft on the lovely Isle of Skye, which has been neglected for years. We are just starting the process of cleaning up and restoring the land so it can be used for food production and animal husbandry again. We follow the principles of permaculture and strive to implement renewable energy where we can, with the goal to be fully off-grid within a few years.
Our family consists of Marcus and Elisabeth, who pretend they know what needs doing, Joe and Finn, the handsome and handy 18 year old twins, Nikolas and Christopher, the home educated pre-teen boys, who love hanging out on the trampoline and are always happy for more playmates, two exceedingly loving but rambunctious collies as well as a lovely little cat, who comes and goes as she pleases. We have recently added a small herd of kune kune pigs, who are doing a great job clearing bracken and brambles, chickens for eggs and tilling duties, ducks for slug patrol, geese as lawn mowers and finally Sporran, our (mostly) Shetland cow with her offspring Dinna (get attached) and another calf due in April.
DIY and building projects
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
You have the opportunity to be part of the very start of implementing a permaculture design that encompasses both the agricultural side as well as social components.
A big focus here is on healing foods, so if you want to learn about fermenting, broth making, using herbs and storing your own produce, we are happy to share what we have learned, even though we still have much to learn ourselves.
We can offer some sailing experience, as we just brought our sailing yacht Calypso (1974 31' Westerly Renown) home.
Feel free to bring your windsurfing or other watersports equipment.
We are a bilingual household, with both English and German native speakers.
Most of the current work involves cleaning up, building and rearranging infrastructure. Things have accumulated over the years and the croft looks a bit like a junkyard. We need to sort through all the materials, save and store what is still usable, discard what is not.
This also involves the building of sheds/lean-tos, where those materials can be stored.
There is a lot of heavy lifting involved, as well as mucky work. You will get dirty!
This is the West coast of Scotland, one of the wettest and windiest places on the world, so please come prepared for rain, mud and stormy weather even in the summer and be pleasantly surprised if we get a sunny, calm day ... They do come every so often ;).
The animals need to be looked after daily, new paddocks for the pigs need to be prepared every couple of weeks, plants need to be watered, transplanted, pruned, weeded, harvested, etc, depending on the time of the year.
During harvest time there will be canning, fermenting and other food storage tasks to do.
If you are at all interested in puttering about in boats, our recently acquired Westerly Renown needs quite a bit of TLC (mostly cosmetic, all the big structrual things like rigging, engine and sails have been renewed fairly recently.). We have a sailing dinghy to restore as well and are keen to put a junk sail on our wooden fishing boat (winter project, most likely).
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
The former byre has been transformed into cosy living quarters with an open concept kitchen/bath/living area on the main floor and 3 separate "rooms" in the mezzanine, accessible by ladders. There are currently no windows, natural light just comes in around the entrance. We used to live there and loved it, especially in the winter, but it is basic and definitely unconventional.
We can accommodate a wide range of diets (some of us are on a paleo type healing diet and/or keto diet), although vegetarians and vegans may not be very happy here.
Cooking and meals will depend on dietary requirements of the group. We love to cook, but are also happy to share meal preparation.
The Isle of Skye is rich in history and the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking or water sports are all accessible here.
There is public transport, but some places can only be reached by car.
For getting here, there is a bus from Glasgow that stops right here in the village, there is train service from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, where we can pick you up, a train from Glasgow to Mallaig via Fort William and the ferry to Armadale, where we can pick you up as well.
We do need to visit one of the cities occasionally, so depending on the timing, there is a slight possibility we can give you a lift from Inverness, Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have Wifi in the byre, which is a mobile modem on the 3 network. We generally get around 45 Mbps download, 15 Mbps upload. There is a big table to work on in the byre and we have a black/white laser printer at the house hooked up to our I-Mac (not network or wifi capable).
Plenty of room available for pretty much any kind of van you will find in the UK (big North American type RVs might be an issue.). There are bathroom and kitchen facilities available to be used.
That depends on the pet, since we have a lot of different animals on the croft. One of our collies tends to be reactive against other dogs, but we have had friends with dogs visiting and things have been fine. It takes some space and resource management. Any dog who comes here does need to be fairly livestock proof, as the chickens like to escape their run occasionally. I have seen some people travelling in a van with their cats, that should be fine.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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