We live in a Scottish Highland village in the county of Sutherland situated at the end of the Dornoch Firth (off the North Sea) where an iron bridge separates Ardgay from Bonar Bridge village. This is a rural area farming sheep and cows and enjoys tree clad hills and mountains, freshwater rivers and lochs where fishing is available by permit. Our home is a traditional croft house with the original part of the house being built in 1780. We have a small amount of garden ground which includes woodland, two freshwater ponds and a rather wild garden. If you are a lover of peace and tranquility and like the quieter side of life, then you will enjoy being with us. If you have an interest in photography there are many opportunities to capture exquisite images in changing light. We are regularly privileged with spectacular geo-magnetic images in the early evening skies and when we are very lucky will experience the northern lights during clear nights.
Here we keep geese, ducks and chickens and they live beside wild birds and waterfowl, rabbits and hedgehogs who have made this their home. Deer pass through the garden most evenings to the field beyond where they forage overnight. Our aim has always been to create natural habitat for wildlife in a pleasant, natural and informal setting.
If you choose to stay with us you would be welcomed into our home where you will have your own modern bedroom with shower and toilet facilities. Breakfast, a light lunch and dinner will be provided and prepared by the host plus soft and hot drinks as required. Cake or other snacks will be at our discretion therefore guests are advised to bring or buy their own extra cold snack food and drinks as they would at home. To satisfy insurance requirements, volunterrs will not be permitted to cook.
We will happily help with practicing English if this is something you would enjoy and for any deaf workaway volunteers although we have a very stale and limited ability using the British sign language we are very willing to overcome any communication difficulties. Some Spanish is spoken and understood.
We have two dogs (labradors) and a cat, all of which live in the house. None of our animals are aggressive and you will be welcome to help feed, look after and learn more about them. However this is not essential and is your choice but care must be taken to ensure the safety of the animals especially their captivity requirements.
Life here is at an easy pace and the helping hours will be flexible to allow for weather and activities. The area is quiet and safe and everyone is friendly and helpful.
DIY and building projects
There are many places to visit by public transport which are not too far away including the immensely interesting fairy tale Dunrobin Castle and gardens in Golspie where the entry price also includes an amazing falconry display each morning and afternoon during summer months (gardens only for the rest of the year).
Dornoch has it's own golf course, award winning sandy beaches and cathedral. At low tide on the Dornoch Firth between Dornoch and Golspie a colony of seals bask on sandy dunes and are easy to watch and photograph.
Golf courses also in nearby Bonar Bridge and Tain.
Heading west is Ullapool with ferries to the Hebrides. Heading north is John O' Groats and ferries to Orkney from Gills Bay and Thurso.
Nearby towns with plenty of small shops, banks and supermarkets are Tain, Alness, Invergordon and Dingwall and of course the city of Inverness which is both cosmopolitan and historic, not least for the worlds most famous, and illusive, monster...Nessie!
We are happy to help with practicing English if this is something you would enjoy and for any deaf workaway volunteers although we have a very stale and limited ability using the British sign language we are very willing to overcome any communication difficulties.
We can discuss any other requirements you may have prior to any decision to spend time in the Highlands.
We would like help with small jobs outside including taming the garden. There are always jobs to be done outside but none are too difficult. Jobs might include replanting very small trees which have seeded elsewhere in the garden, repair work to small wooden sheds and garden furniture, creating bridges over streams, clearing streams of fallen branches/leaves ready for winter, painting wood preserver to sheds and garden furniture, other touch-up painting etc. If you enjoy being creative your input would be welcome. Most of the jobs are on going and mainly maintenance but some just for fun.
Easy painting indoors during adverse weather.
If you choose to stay with us you would be welcomed into our home where you will have the privacy of your own bedroom. Shower and toilet facilities (shared if there are 2 volunteers at the same time). There are nice views from both inside and outside and if you are lucky may even see the Northern Lights. You are also welcome to use the family lounge with TV (not live) and dining room and of course, the garden. We will happily help with practicing English if this is something you would enjoy and for any deaf workaway volunteers although we have a very stale and limited ability using the British sign language we are very willing to overcome any communication difficulties. Remember we have two dogs (labradors) and a cat, all of which live in the house. Sometimes the odd chicken or goose will pop in to say hello!
Ardgay is on the North Highland line of the Scotrail network (between Inverness and Thurso/Wick) and the railway station is just over half a mile (one km) from our home and takes 15 minutes or so to walk.
In addition, there is a local bus service to the Royal Borough town of Tain where connecting services to Inverness and towns en-route operate. A bus also runs once a day each Saturday directly to Inverness (bootable in advance).
By car, Inverness is approximately 40 miles from Ardgay and takes 45 minutes to drive.
1.5miles (2.4km) from Ardgay is Bonar Bridge. Here is a post office, library with internet service, chemist (pharmacy), Spar grocery store, hardware and art supply shops, cafes and Bonar Bridge golf course. In addition is the doctor's surgery (clinic) with 4 doctors and a team of nursing staff. The Lawson Memorial Hospital in Golspie is our closest hospital for x-rays, minor conditions and triage. However Raigmore hospital in Inverness offers all departments including Accident and Emergency. Ambulance and air ambulance operate throughout the Highlands when required.
Inverness is served by a small but national and international airport, the railway station and network with connections to Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow, Edinburgh and further afield via connections from these major cities. There is also the Caledonian Sleeper train operating direct overnight service between Inverness and London Euston station. Airline style seats are available on this route as an alternative to the more expensive cabins. These have comfortable beds, new complimentary towels, bottles of water, sink and wake up service with hot drink and biscuits. A good variety of food is available on the sleeper train at reasonable cost, including breakfast if required.
Inverness is also served by a bus station which in addition to local services also operates nationally with services throughout Scotland and England. Mega Bus and Stagecoach national services are also available to and from the station, bookable on-line prior to travel. Situated adjacent to the railway station you are able to mix and match public transport with ease.
There are opportunities for walking, photography, observing sea life (seals, dolphins, sea birds etc), local deer and scenery and we will be happy to show you some of the area by car if available and within the time restrictions demanded by our animals.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week