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help exchange   Host 29288
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1
Persons: 2
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 29288
Country: Scotland

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Last Updated: June 14, 2018

*Hi there, thanks for looking, at the moment I have enough help for the summer and am unsure whether I will have need for helpers later in the year. Good luck!*

My son and I have lived on this smallholding for the past 15 years. We have a cottage, a rustic bothy/music rehearsal room where sometimes couchsurfers and helpx guests have stayed, a workshop for art and creative projects. We enjoy crafts, I make things from beach wood and my son is studying design. At the moment, he is starting to think about moving somewhere else so it might be just me here, but I'm sure you'll meet one or two of my neighbours while you're here!

The land is approximately 1 hectare, I have planted over 500 trees and they are just starting to mature. There is a vegetable garden and a polytunnel (greenhouse). I try to grow all my vegetables and I am still learning about preserving vegetables so that we can be self-sufficient as much as possible. I also have chickens for eggs, a cat that lives outside and a very energetic young dog!

I like to have contact with the things I need in life. Apart from growing food, I plan to use trees for firewood and at present, I use waste wood from builders and joiners in the area. Most electricity is generated here using a wind turbine and so I tend to wait for windy days to put on the washing machine!

Help appreciated:
Over the years, we've renovated the buildings and landscaped the area, built a tree house, but there is still a lot to do! It's a lot of space to manage on my own, but also too much space to appreciate on our own too! The work needed is mostly not high skill and I am happy to teach you. Jobs include weeding and general gardening, cutting and planting trees, painting the buildings, rebuilding walls etc. Hopefully I would be able to offer some choice of work but sometimes it may be quite physical.
If you get in touch, we can discuss this.
Most work is outside. I cannot predict the weather so on very bad days, some work may be done in the house and the buildings outside.
Most of the time I will either be working with you or nearby, but sometimes I may have other commitments so you may occasionally be working on your own. At the moment I am finishing off building a summer house (a large glass building to enjoy growing more tropical and exotic plants!), so there may be construction work, or I may leave you in charge of the garden to free my time for the summer house.

What I can offer
Accommodation: I have a bedroom in the house and a room outside I use for yoga and an office. You will probably have a bed in the house unless you prefer sleeping somewhere else!
Food: We provide three meals a day. We are vegetarian and only provide vegetarian food. Usually we have cereals/toast etc for breakfast, sandwiches and salads etc for lunch, and a hot evening meal.
I want to make sure you have plenty to eat at these three meals, but if you like to have many extras such as chocolate, beer, wine etc, that will be your responsibility.

Other: This area is quite remote, but there are some things to see within 10 - 15km. I can lend bicycles if you want to visit these places, as long as you feel comfortable on them. If you expect to use them a lot you may want to bring your own cycle helmet. If you are creative or musical, you are welcome to use the workshop space for your own projects. I have many musical instruments you can try! We have a pool table and table tennis too. I am also happy to help you improve your English if that is your reason for coming. Wifi is available for emails and communication.

The Area:
The North East of Scotland is usually overlooked on the tourist map, but there's a lot of stunning coastline, castles, 5000 year old stone circles nearby. Further away there are mountains and distilleries. The nearest city, Aberdeen is an hour away (shops, galleries etc.) and there is public transport to Elgin, Findhorn and Inverness.

The Helpx Experience:
The basic arrangement is: In exchange for accommodation, food and use of the facilities, you would work for around 4-5 hours per day, five days. I'm happy to have some flexibility, for example if you want to work longer per day for more days off. Please bring old clothes. I can provide some, but waterproof footware is essential (you may be working in wet grass).
As a homestay, the ideal is for us both to get more from the experience than simply a transaction. For me, the best experiences have been when we've connected socially, and who apart from the work, enjoyed contributing to daily life, such as cooking etc. Inthese cases, I am happy to give some time, taking you to see some of the local sites.
This place has a lot to offer if it's the kind of place you're looking for. I want you to get something of value from this experience, and to enjoy your spare time here. Once, two guests came here to use their free time improving their guitar skills. Another guy used his spare time to concentrate on college work and his friend spent his spare time in the workshop experimenting with carving coconut shells. A French guest and I jammed together and at the end of his stay, we performed together at a local festival!
To get a better feel for each other, I have found that having a chat via Skype, Whatsapp etc. is a good way to give you a better picture of the place.

If you like remote and quiet places, I think you would like it here. For people travelling by car, it is much easier to access the local sites.

Finally, thank you for reading this far! When you write, please tell me why you want to come here in particular, so I can help you work out whether this is the right place for you. Please also make sure that your profile is complete so I can get to know you a bit! I reply to all emails as long as they are not generic. I look forward to your visit!

If you have any questions, just get in touch,
Good luck in your travels and experiences,

Photos: The bothy (music room)
The house
Kris Kail and Kaito (the dog), with Laura (helpx guest) on top of the local mountain
Helpxer Alex painting an amazing mural in the bothy!
al fresco cooking by the fire!
Summer flowers

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