Volunteer Winter Helpers – Update February 2015
For March and April 2016 we are looking for A RESILIENT, UP FOR A CHALLENGE, OUTDOOR SINGLE OR COUPLE as winter helper/s. You would have the use of the newly built Lambing Bothy with cosy wood-stove, luxurious hebridean box-bed, composting toilet and a choice of showers, – either ‘hot bush’, or ‘hostel’ or even in our house. A modest responsibility allowance is available for the right folk.
For full details please see http://www.helpx.net/host.asp?
Each year, from mid-April to October, we like to invite energetic helpers to assist us, for a two month period, with the management and maintenance of the 8-bed hostel, three off-grid eco-cabins and light-weight camping ground, ducks, hens, sheep, polytunnel, gardens and woodlands all within this 6 acre homestead at The Lazy Duck, Nethy Bridge in the Cairngorms National Park, Scottish Highlands.
Please contact us telling us as much about yourself as possible, what relevant skills you have and providing us with the names of 3 referees/supporters.
What we look for..We look for smart, energetic, flexible, considerate ‘CAN DO’ people, good to be with at both work and play and with good ability in spoken English. You would need to be able to live tidily in your own summer season caravan, and have excellent cleaning and household preparation skills. Additional experience in outdoor painting, gardening and general grounds-keeping will also be welcome together with a willingness to work at different times of the day.
Ideally…Our guests in the hostel, 2 eco-cabins and lightweight camping ground are very important to us and we do everything possible to make them feel welcome and well looked after. You would be joining us in this task in which you would need to be confident with people and interested in developing your own hospitality skills.
In Return…In return you will be able to enjoy living for a while in our beautiful National Park, and at the Lazy Duck learn from us about small scale hospitality management and sustainability (Green Tourism Gold) along with the opportunity of working with your hands in the outdoors amongst waterfowl, hens and sheep, flower and vegetable gardens and woodland.
Some Details…Our Summer Helpers can join us each year any time from mid-April, preferably for a 2 month period, and can stay until the end of October. We ask for four hours work six days a week in return for free accommodation in one of two heated classic touring caravans sited next to our 4-tent backpacker camping area beneath the ancient pine trees. You supply your own food, but free-range hens eggs and home baked bread are often available ‘on the house’, together with invitations to BBQ. There is also the use of a bike. In summer season couples are also welcome to apply and would occupy the larger twin berth caravan. Volunteers would need to be non-smoking. If this interests you please E-mail us, telling us whatever you would like to say about YOURSELF and WHAT YOU CAN DO, together with your CV, a recent PHOTOGRAPH and a TELEPHONE NUMBER that we can use to reach you. We also ask you for the E-MAIL and TELEPHONE details of 3 supporters whom we can contact with reference to your abilities and personal qualities. It is usual for you to contact them first; if this is difficult in your country please let us know.
The Lazy DuckThe Lazy Duck is in the Cairngorms National Park in the village of Nethy Bridge – 2 shops, 1 pub, 1 tumbling mountain river, hundreds of acres of ancient forest and heather, 5 miles from Grantown-on-Spey, 20 minutes by bus from Aviemore, 1 hour from Inverness.
Zeb…Zeb, our first Winter Helper, arrived from North Carolina via Iceland and Norway. Sharing a cottage a mile away, his cycling enthusiasm proved useful each morning, often in ice and snow. Wonderfully laid back, he won’t forget managing loads of firewood, hot tub and laundry and his capacity for positive reflection saw him through two winter months splendidly.
Thea…Thea, from the Dutch German borderlands, had worked in a remote outback farm in Australia. An equable and tough contributor to our programme, she tackled anything, holding her own alongside a well experienced and fast moving logs-shifting team and at the same time offering both charm and hospitality to our visitors.
Greg…Greg, from Bethune in France had grown up on his family’s farm and was a natural therefore in the many practical tasks we needed to do in the Spring. Always a lead member in the carrying of heavy timber to the sawing area, his skills as a pastry cook were also always welcome!
George…George, a Canadian, brought with him a deep experience of wilderness living. With his magnetic personality he gave much to our team which spoke of his rustic living and remote hostel managing in the Rockies. Seriously thoughtful, a tease and with an abundance of practical skill at his fingertips, George was an invaluable colleague.
Ian…Ian, a Scout in his youth, arrived from England on a low powered motor bike with L plates! He soon became instrumental as a woodsman and on other varied tasks he learned as we went along together, also taking the chance to walk in the Cairngorms, showing his enthusiasm for the hills.
Barbara…Barbara blew in from the mountains of northern Italy and injected a welcome Mediterranean flavour to the team. We were all caught up in the enthusiasm and humour that she brought to every task we did together. A marketing specialist and with Sicilian forbears, Barbara will be well remembered wherever she lands.
Melanie…Melanie, from the Netherlands, although still in her teens was really, really good in our team. Her passion here was sheep shearing, and playing music much of which she composed herself. She is now a serious music student back home and we expect to hear more of her successes in the future.
Heidi…Heidi, a hospitality and marketing undergraduate from France came to us from a season with the French Ski School, Courchevel. She brought with her a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere which added much to the summer spirit at the Lazy Duck. Excellent she was with guests and in the preparations necessary for their happy visits.
Borja…Borja from Navarra, Spain had worked in hospitality and agriculture in New Zealand and as a canoeing instructor on Menorca. A student Physical Education teacher he had the very best ‘can do’ approach and a great sense of humour. He tackled all the practical tasks he could and was a great ‘hit’ both with visitors and the team.
Joel…Joel, a student teacher from the Netherlands discovered much here about just how to apply the basic practical skills he brought with him. A great conversationalist he was popular with visitors and contributed well to the summer programme.
Torsten…Torsten, a student teacher from Brunwick, Germany modestly claimed to have just basic experience in the skills we need here. That said, he was ever willing and able to pick up on whatever we were doing, taking particular care of the hot tub and being a great host with visitors.
Doris…Doris, from Dresden was a senior teacher of English taking a one year sabbatical. We felt privileged that, of all the options open to her, she came to The Lazy Duck bringing with her some formidable skills in gardening, cooking, pastry making, deep conversation and meticulous cleaning, – and all with great good humour. When it was time for Doris to leave us after two months she set off for Cuba.
Guillaume…Guillaume, a civil engineering student from Metz in France, brought with him several useful practical skills and learned some more during his stay, including some chicken physiotherapy. Having taken advantage of two short holidays in our hospital in Inverness he is also now an expert on the British National Health Service and his 2 months in Scotland contributed significantly to his language studies at home.
Julian…Julian came from Madrid where he was in administration and also a tutor. He will be well remembered for his successful spell acting as labourer to our craftsman Dave who during August was roofing the new Duck’s Nest hut with heavy stones.
Louise…Louise, a great granny, resident occasionally in Devon, seemed to have been most places and is no stranger even to the Isles of Eigg and Iona as a hard graft volunteer. She brought with her many rural skills which equipped her well to join Doris towards the end of the summer. We valued highly her devotion to composting, path making, rescuing the garden, care of the ducks and her engaging way with all visitors.
Gemma…Gemma, a hospital nurse and mountaineer from Catalunia, was a most rigorous, organised and proactive Helper whose company we all enjoyed in the Spring of 2013. Full of delightful positive energy and good conversation she had much to offer our visitors and she certainly put our mountain bike through its paces!
Kike…Kike, whose home was Buenos Aires is a veteran helper in hostels world wide. He had a measured and kindly antipodean lope which with his engaging philosophy of life confirmed for our visitors that they had arrived at a rather special place and with special people too. He also introduced us to his native Malbec wine.
David…David, a PE and education student from Madrid soon discovered that it was possible for a city boy to learn outdoor rural skills and give much to his two month stay. He weathered several challenges exceedingly well, became an enthusiastic manager of the hot tub and was a great companion for Guillaume.
Anna…Anne, a teaching undergraduate from Germany, with English and biology as her subjects, had spent a year at University College of North Wales, Bangor, where she met Mara who was here in 2011. Anne brought many welcome skills, particularly with people, was always ready to try anything and gave much to us all at L Duck.
Yvo…Yvo, a big strong Dutchman, came to us with valuable experience in gardens in Canada and made an expert job of polytunnel bed preparations and pathmaking in the wood. Yvo took a bush shower every day in September and October 2012 and has the certificates to prove it.
Samuel…Samuel from Nottingham was a qualified pastry chef an avid cook and an insatiable reader. He became increasingly practical at all outside jobs, his jaunty hat rarely taken off, was popular with visitors and very hard working.
Bridget…Bridget came from New Zealand via Jakarta, Indonesia where she worked as a journalist as well as in an orphanage. At Lazy Duck she tackled any job going with enthusiasm and skills that neither she nor we knew she had. She remained in Scotland and went to live and work on the West Coast.
Narenne…Narenne, a hospitality and care professional from near Paris, had worked in Portugal, the French Pyrenees and Norway. She brought a brilliant vitality to L Duck and made many friends whilst helping everybody here.
Rike…Rike a physiotherapy student in Germany had worked on organic farms in France, Canada, and New Zealand as well as in several hostels from Isle of Iona to Pitlochry. In May 2012 she painted our reconstructed bridge meticulously and was a most experienced hospitality giver to guests
Ceylan…Ceylan, from Ayr, in Scotland, unfortunately fell off her bike right at the end of her stay with us, – and not by playing the fiddle! A super-avid reader she browsed our bookshelves and enjoyed the tranquillity of her caravan but gave lots of energy to her hospitality role and gained considerable experience especially in helping visitors feel welcome and relaxed.
Kenny & Marissa…Kenny and Marissa, from California and with graduate community service, applied theatre and librarian backgrounds, last year shared the two-person classic caravan and helped harvest the wild flower meadow, dug a successful drainage ditch and worked the log splitter with great style. Together they laid the wood-chip path on the woodman’s trail and successfully juggled deadlines for their post graduate studies in summer 2011.
Xiaoling…Xiaoling, a doctor from NE China was a medical researcher at Nottingham University. She also kept house for fellow students and had some previous experience helping with her family’s fruit farm. At Lazy Duck she was a sparkling and ever active presence, making sure visitors were very well looked after. When Xiaoling’s university work delayed her arrival for 10 days, she arranged for two fellow students, Lulu and Wen to take her place meantime; fantastic and great fun for us all.
Mara…Mara, an enthusiastic post-graduate student of forestry and sustainable nature management from Latvia, was taking a break from her Masters at Bangor University in North Wales. Great company, she helped us prepare for opening the Woodman’s Hut and went ‘bracken bashing’ with the Woodland Trust in spare time.
Kirsten…Kirsten, a geography undergraduate from Aberdeen University, scottish country dance teacher and street pastor brought her lively infectious enthusiasm to whatever she did. She spent 3 months here, and when she was around everyone had a smile on their face and felt well cared for. She also contributed hugely as master painter for the Woodman’s Hut
Megan…Megan, an executive secretary and massage practitioner from Hermanus, South Africa helped rear the brood of 21 Exhibition Aylesbury ducklings hatched here in 2011. She also enjoyed gardening, and brought her guitar and her special love of singing, which were enjoyed by visitors and helpers alike.
Ursina…Ursina, from Uzwil in eastern Switzerland, had recently left High School and in her vacations had worked for a fruit farmer, harvesting and selling the produce. Her housekeeping and welcoming of visitors were meticulous and she went on to further studies in English in the south.
Jake…Jake (left) pictured here with Xavier, shearing one of our Soay ewes in a hot spell in June 2010, came from Maryland USA. As a pre-vet student he wanted to find out quickly anything about our animals, – and these semi-wild sheep from a tiny island in the northern Atlantic ocean did not disappoint!
Sonja…Sonja, a trainee teacher from Karlsruhe, Germany, was a marathon runner and cyclist. With previous experience in New Zealand hostels she made an exceptional contribution to our visitors enjoyment in 2010 – and she loved helping in the polytunnel.
Angus…Angus, from Hamilton, Scotland came for two spells covering three months in 2010. Experienced in hospitality and a maintenance organiser for one of Scotland’s well known mountain bothies there was little that he could or would not do for our visitors.
Xavier…Xavier from Tavant, France came hoping to improve his English. He managed everything extremely well for two months in 2010, hosting visitors in great style and teaching us all some French recipes. He was also hugely adventurous in the mountains.
Doreen…Doreen from Dresden, Germany, was interested in learning anything to do with gardening and did some serious mountain walking in her time here. Her hostel care work was super and she went on to help at another hostel in Wales later in 2010.
Eddie & Susie…Eddie and Susie were a characteristically robust ‘Aussie combination’, bringing lots of energy and optimism, backed up by Ed’s outback skills, their joint Scottish hostel-sitting experience and Susie’s top-class french horn and piano playing, all to great benefit in spring ’09.
Jacob…Jacob brought from North Carolina his passion for playing the bagpipes and pitching into everything from hanging out washing to playing for everybody in the evenings, and even to entering the Abernethy Highland Games piping competition.
Amy…Amy had a rare combination of being a soccer referee and a sales associate in the ‘Tin Box ‘ Edmonton, Alberta. Her experience at the Samaritan Village Orphanage, Tanzania prepared her well for making young children feel special staying here.
Barbara…Barbara from Munich had spent 6 months travelling through Central America using her skills in Spanish. She loved animals and told us everything about ‘Ludwig’ her fabulous rabbit back home. Here she helped us looking after hens, geese and sheep as well as the ducks.
Suzy…Suzy from N Wisconsin had a strong organic farming background running a goat dairy and hen-house. Her musicianship made her especially welcome and her skilled piano playing was enjoyed both in the house here and at daughter Polly’s restaurant nearby.
Paul…Paul last October looked after our autumn campers, often around the chimenea fire, and helped us with the flush of family hostellers, walkers and cyclists, whilst preparing for his next venture in outdoor activities.
Lucy…Lucy from Vermont, an eco-tourism graduate with travels in Senegal, Costa Rica and Ghana, came to us in 2008. With her family background on a small farm, it is her ambition one day to run her own hostel
Alex…Alex from Toronto, with impressive outdoor skills, came to us whilst putting the finishing touches to her post-graduate studies in geomorphology. She would have taken L duck’s hammock home with her, had we let her!
Steve…Steve was with us for the last two months of the 2008 summer helper season. A top level classical dancer when younger, and with many country skills he was a man for any challenge imaginable and an invaluable and much appreciated colleague.
Bart & Ingrid…Bart and Ingrid from Holland returned for a second time in 2007. Their huge practical skills and natural hospitality were invaluable and they spent the winter helping at other Scottish independent hostels – lucky owners!
Angie & Nathan…Angie, a special needs teacher from the U.S also returned in 2007 bringing with her British husband Nathan. We had a family wedding here that summer and we could not have managed without Angie and Nathan – who even made a film of the happy couple’s day!
Lina…Lina from Brechen in Germany had studied biological sciences in New Zealand. She said she knew little about gardening (nor ducks!) when she arrived but together we did very well.
Yann…Yann, from near Tours in France, was our youngest ever Summer Helper at just 18. He helps his family with holiday cottages in the Auvergne so he was always quizzing us on what we were doing and exactly why! This was great.
Kate…Kate came to us from Las Vegas for last year’s mid-summer. With experience with children and shelters for the homeless she was a great person for hostellers to find on arrival!
Foad…Foad is a skilled photographer as well as timber mover – some of his shots are now included on both of our websites.
Rose Marie… Kristina…Rose Marie from Oregon and Kristina student in Berlin were a superb skilled team never without humour, and carefully painters too!
Josie…Josie, a psychologist from Louisiana and Josh from New Orleans, taking time out from reconstruction work following Hurricane Katrina
Chema…At home near Madrid, Chema made a living repairing buildings without scaffolding. We appreciated his climbing skills on our roof and whenever tree work had to be done.
Andre & Lenka…Andre & Lenka, students from Bratislava, found part time work locally, in a hotel and in a nursing home. Now we hear they are married and have a family!
Sarah…Sarah had experience of organic gardening; she painstakingly attacked the flower and vegetable beds to prepare them for the short growing season here in the mountains.
Neil…Neil was our first summer helper ever. He came to us in 2004, and just lived for snow boarding and climbing. He now has his own plumbing business.
Sylvan…While with us Sylvan from Montreal got to know half the village, working in a classy hotel, as butcher’s boy in the village, and teaching French to the locals.
Sharon & Shlomo…Sharon & Shlomo from Jerusalem took a break from their jobs in art therapy and special education. They borrowed bikes and explored the forest trails and lochsides.
Kayella…Kayella from Toronto, was probably our best gardener ever!
We are happy to receive applications for the summer season 2015, preferably for a 2 month period.
A short checklist …
- Please send us an email with your CV, a recent photograph and your phone number.
- Give us the names of 3 people (not relatives) who would be happy to support your application, with their e-mail addresses and phone numbers so that we can contact them, remembering to mention this to them in advance.
- Write us a letter of introduction telling us what you can offer and also perhaps what you are hoping to gain from your stay with us and anything else you would like us to know about you.
- CONTACT US: e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: +44 (0)1479 821092