Hello and thanks for your time,
My name is Colin and I need your help !
I live on a small island on the west coast of Scotland called Kerrera, it’s just a little island with a small population of around 75 people. I purchased this property 10 years ago and have been living and working on it since then. I have (with the help of others) already done a vast amount of work in the first 5 years but life got complicated and suddenly 5 more years slipped by and many of the projects have only inched forward or stalled….. But my life is less complicated now and I am ready to kick start the works once again and hopefully see the project get back on track.
I am passionate about where I live and feel very connected to this little bit of land I call home.
My mission is to create an amazing property that is bursting at the seams with wildlife but interlaced with build gardens. I want this property to provide me with an income that enables me to live here 24/7 and to be able to reinvest any profits I make into the project to benefit all who come here. I want to be surrounded by like minded people who want to experience this amazing place. I hope to make this place more sustainable as the years go on by reducing my need to import the majority of my food and fuel from the mainland but feel it’s important to have the infrastructure in place before getting lost in gardens and alternative energy solutions….
I want to continue to be inspired to create a space that can be enjoyed by countless people into the future, I want to meet and to enjoy working alongside many interesting people from all nations
How to explain what your coming to……
You should be aware that this is a very rural location on a small, sparsely populated island, 75 people - NO shops, NO pub, (Kerrera Island) just off Oban on the west coast of Scotland. The only way to get to the island is by a local ferry, for foot passengers and authorised vehicles only. It takes about 45 minutes to get from Oban to the property, and to a quite different world.
The property is about 2.5 hectares or about 350 meters long by 100m wide
The photos should give you more idea of details.
There are 5 building of various sizes on the property, the smallest being a cabin that we rent out and the bigger buildings being a pretty standard two up to down old Scottish farm house and associated steadings. There are a few people living here, a family of 4 live in one of the buildings, an old volunteer who never left lives in a caravan on site but works away and I live in the main house with my girlfriend, and my kids live here 50% of the time.
I live on site all year round (but work away in November and December) I make a very small income from my Airbnb and this income enables me to be able to stay on the island on a daily basis rather than having to work away on the mainland. The success of this business is essential to me and the happiness and wellbeing of my guests is a priority.
I do not have any animals, birds or pets at this time but have previously had pet dogs, chickens and a variety of injured wildlife has passed through my care. I will re look at chickens when I can properly protect them from predators.
The island has no formal gathering place but there is a bar at the marina which is about 4 miles up the road ! You will meet people there and as you go about the island.
I am in my late 40s, have two children (Oscar 7 and Tilly 6) who spend there time both here and with their mum who lives two miles up the road. I have been back in Scotland for 10 years but was previously in Australia for 10 years where I was an environmental stonemason rebuilding walking tracks in remote areas. Previous to that I was in Scotland from the age of twenty but also spent 15 years in England during my schooling years.
I have got all the badges for living a full and busy life, from wild reckless party animal to successful business owner, but these days I am trying to carefully craft a gentle retreat from mainstream society….. Eating and drinking healthily and trying to learn how to be a better human.
I am much quieter than I used to be, happy to just chill out in the evenings and work away during the day.
What are you going to be doing 🙂
So I would expect you to help 5 days a week and put in about 6 hrs a day, I will try and give you both Saturday and Sunday off as standard but a bit of flexibility may be required now and then. The work will be totally dependent on what’s going on at the time of your visit but the core work will be stuff like, but not limited to - Fencing, Painting, Building work, Gardening work, Road works, firewood collection and processing, the other tasks would be to assist me with changeovers in the cabin and general duties associated with communal living such as cleaning your own room 😂😂😂 in the past some helpers have helped with the cooking and keeping things in order and this worked really well, if your a good cook who is capable of cooking healthy nutritious food with basic ingredients and want to split your time between domestic and outdoor work then please let me know🙂
What will I be doing 🙃
Exactly the same as you but I will also do the cooking (when nobody else is allocated) and pick up / drop of the guests, looking after my kids when they are about and also supervising my aged dad when he comes to help !
What sort of person do i need ….
I need you to be capable and enthusiastic to get on with whatever jobs are required from you, enthusiasm is far more important to me than experience as I have plenty of jobs to cater for all levels of experience. If you don’t like working hard or are naturally a lazy person then this is not the place for you. This place is remote and you need to be happy in your own space, there is not a bustling social scene on the island and the nearest bar is 4 miles away….. i have not visited it yet…. If you like the idea of “getting away” from the hustle and bustle of modern life then this could well suit you.
Where will you be staying 🏕🏠🛖
You will have your own room that is rustic but well insulated and warm, it’s in a building that is earmarked to become a workshop but the two bedrooms are above the workshop and are nearly finished but Undecorated, there is a loo downstairs and hopefully we can put a shower in soon but there is one in my house that people can use until then. All cooking will take place in my house.
SMOKING and the rules.
This is a non smoking household, Smoking during the working day is limited to your breaks, there is NO SMOKING on the job. This is NOT to say smokers cannot come but you need to respect the rules, please do not smoke in front of my children….
Cooking and food - very important 😀
I am sorry but I cannot cater for people with special diets such as vegan or for people who have intolerances to things like dairy and wheat. I am however eating 95% vegetarian diet therefore I can easily cater for vegetarians as my girlfriend is one.
Generally you need to be able and happy to eat what I provide as I don’t have the time, energy or the money to support people with specific dietary requirements…. I have tried and it’s just too much work and stress for me.
I eat very little dairy…. Butter being the main exception and a tiny bit of cheese in some cooking. I am happy to buy milk and cheese for you no problem.
A standard day may look something like -
breakfast is usually just muesli
There is also toast with tea or coffee.
Lunch is a sandwich, eggs, wrap with vegetables or maybe a soup or salad if we are being extravagant !
Dinner - example - I like to cook simple wholesome food, I like to eat greens every day and one or two bits of fruit is alway good for you ! I hardly eat any sugar so don’t have biscuits or cake readily available…... I don’t snack but try to eat three solid meals a day. I like a beer in the evening …or two….or three😂… but am not a big drinker, if you drink alcohol then that’s fine but you will need to buy your own as I can’t afford to supply this.
I have a small vegetable garden where i grow some crops, nothing to be overly proud of but it’s a start and I try to grow things every year so that I am going through the motions and learning as I go. I do have a good composting system that recycles all food scraps, it makes happy worms and goes back onto my garden. I have BIG plans to produce MUCH more of my own food and am in the process of building a large polly tunnel right now, but this will initially be used as a storage area as I need to focus on building renovations and need somewhere to store stuff.
Duration of stay
Ideally, we are looking for long-term helpers -- say around a month -- but there are always openings for a shorter term too. A minimum stay would be two weeks. We would be happy for folk to stay longer than a month if it seemed to be working out well for all parties…. Three of the people who live here permanently are previous help X volunteers who never left…😳
So, if you like the sound of it, please contact me by email.
(NOT phone) In your message I expect you to tell me something about yourself and why coming HERE will be good for the both of us 😁 this email is important as it will show me that your not just sending out repetitive emails to loads of hosts, tell me in the email that you have READ my description and you know where your coming to !
If you apply to come and help and i send you an email accepting your offer you will have 24hrs to confirm you are coming to stay, after that we CANNOT guarantee your place will be held as previously we have been messed about and this has left us without helpers and other helpers have missed out on coming.
Ok thanks for reading.
I am a 50 year old guy who has lived a very varied life, from party animal to running a professional business in Australia…. Nowadays I enjoy peace and quiet, I love to be busy with projects on my property, building a place that can be enjoyed by both volunteers, family, friends and guests alike. I treat my volunteers with respect and value honesty in a person.