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We are couple who run an informal not-for-profit alpaca visitor centre at Callanish on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. It is 2.5 hours by ferry from mainland Scotland and the furthest northwest point in the U.K.
In addition to the 8 adult female alpacas, 3 yearling alpacas and one baby alpaca (cria) born in June 2022 we also have unusual breeds of chickens, sheep, pigs and ducks plus a couple of peacocks. We regularly rescue and re-home animals. The current total is 140+ animals!
We have (inadvertently) developed into a visitor centre and many people visit from all over the world! Despite this we consider the animals to be our pets, admission is free and we love people to share our enjoyment of having all these beautiful animals.
Visitors include both children and adults alike and we sometimes have whole primary schools visit! We also have a strong connection with the local autism groups and caring services.
The whole set-up is run entirely by us as a couple and one of us works full-time therefore we would welcome some volunteer help both animal-related and on the 9 acres of land.
Couples would be preferable for the practicalities of teamwork and company when venturing around the island. In the winter a couple or family prepared to live in their motorhome and use the facilities in the bothy and house would be ideal from the perspective of comfort! A good grasp of the English language would also be beneficial in order to explain the tasks accurately.
If the duties or expectations do not suit or benefit either party then continuation of the placement may be discussed.
Bricolage et projets de construction
S’occuper des animaux
Aide dans une ferme
The island is remote and despite being 80 miles long has a population of only 21,000. Stornoway is the main town. It is one of the last strongholds of the Gaelic language and culture. We hail from South Wales and therefore were not brought up on the island but have plenty of local connections with people who were.
We can introduce you to a variety of local people and friends who continue the traditional Hebridean lifestyle including crofters, spinners and weavers of the world famous Harris tweed. Crofting usually involves keeping a variety of animals including but not exclusive to various breeds of sheep and Highland cows. We ourselves have rare breed four-horned Hebridean sheep.
At certain times of year there would be the chance to go peat cutting on the moors; every crofter has their own dedicated peat patch including us.
Most of our friends in Callanish are Gaelic speakers and would therefore be able to share their knowledge of the language and culture with you. Playing the bagpipes and Highland dancing are popular hobbies here and you can experience both.
Your accommodation is immediately outside our home so we'll be seeing you all the time and will make you very welcome in our household. It's a certainty that we'll be sharing some of the tasks with you on a daily basis. We'll be able to guide you to interesting points of interest on the island and further afield if that takes your fancy.
Daily routine animal duties including letting them out in the morning, providing food and water, cleaning their houses and putting them to bed at night.
Involvement with taking visitors on informal tours is optional but a great way to meet a diverse variety of people.
Maintenance of the animal houses and enclosures including simple repair, adjustments and painting.
Improvements of the land including cutting the rushes over a large area, seeding and upkeep of drainage ditches.
All tasks are negotiable and appropriate waterproof clothing and footwear plus power tools and safety equipment where necessary will be provided.
We have accommodation in the form of a converted stable immediately outside the house which has two double beds in a communal area. It has a fully equipped kitchen and all food would be provided by us for your preparation in the accommodation. There is a toilet and shower for your use in the house plus TV and unlimited wi-fi in the bothy. All bedding and towels provided. Laundry facilities on site.
The island is outstandingly beautiful throughout and there are countless outdoor activities but volunteers should be aware that getting around the island to reach some places can be a challenge as it is so sparsely populated and remote. Bicycle and car hire are possible.
There are 600 miles of coastline and the numerous beaches have white sand and turquoise sea.
Callanish Stones are impressive standing stones dating back to 3,000 BC. They are a world famous attraction. It is only a short walk from our house to the stones and they are clearly visible from here.
The Hebridean Way is a popular cycle and walking route. It runs 185 miles through the entire Outer Hebrides from the most southerly island, Barra to the most northerly point of Lewis. The islands are joined by causeways or linked by cheap ferry services.
Accès Internet limité
Nous avons des animaux
Nous sommes fumeurs
Surprisingly fast wi-fi for a remote location! Stable speeds of 50+ mbps download/mid-teens upload in the bothy.
During autumn and winter only.
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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