A little word about our sustainability & hospitality thinking…
From David & Valery, Lazy Duck Originals
We arrived at Badanfhuarain, as newly weds from the village’s Old Kirk, in April 1974. Our four grandchildren, here now with their parents in Nethy Bridge, are fifth generation Nethy citizens. The Duck Keeper’s Cottage and with its half acre of land was our first home together. In the forty five years since then we have worked in education both at home and abroad and, since 1999, set about progressively opening up Badanfhuarain to accommodate The Lazy Duck. These now six acres then have come together over our 45 year stewardship to accommodate the Woodman’s Hut, Duck’s Nest, Lambing Bothy, the Lazy Duck Hut Hostel, Camping Ground, the original cottage and main house.
There never was a master plan. Rather we followed a simple organic progression employing a keen eye and ear ever open to the hopes and needs of our guests. Thanks go to the many local and international folk who have helped and encouraged us along the way. The message we were keen to share is summed up in what we wrote at one point in our journey:-
“ We aim to live gently on this ground and invite you to join us. If you stay here in this woodland clearing you might notice that, over the years, a further eighty or more younger trees, alder, birch, rowan, cherry, larch, crab apple, apple, plum and aspen have been planted. We take great care with recycling, composting, with the cleaning products we use and supply to guests, with the lighting and heating methods that we choose and have adopted other practices aimed at minimising our footprint in the environment, striving towards a sustainable future.
We also play a small part in helping to preserve two rare breeds native to these islands. Our forebears who settled and part cultivated this ground over one hundred years ago, the traveller folk MacDonalds and later the craftsmen builders McGillivray, we hope would approve.
Many of the waterfowl you will linger by on the pond are direct descendants of those we brought here first in 1995, including the Aylesbury early domestic breed. We care for three acres of the seventy acre ‘ancient pine forest’ surrounding us to the north. Here also is a small flock of Soay rare breed sheep, originating on the St Kilda archipelago forty miles west of the Isle of Harris, in the Atlantic Ocean. These goat like sheep now graze the field where Scots pines once stretched almost to the cottage gate.
Lazy Duck’s visitors come to celebrate anniversaries, make romantic, life changing proposals, to spend very simple yet special time together. They also include random batches of winter freelance instructors, skiers and snowboarders, mountain bikers most of the year, bird watchers any time, path builders, ecologists, family groups and small activity gatherings from all over the UK and beyond. Just a few admit to having happily resolved the challenge of being on the margins of their comfort zone. We are happy for them. Some are also artists and musicians, environmentalists and fair traders and we love that which they bring.
The Woodman’s Hut we built for twosomes in 2011, The Duck’s Nest, wood-fired hot tub and sauna in 2013. The Lambing Bothy and Well Being Studio, hosting various holistic therapies, were created in 2016. Then, finally emerged The Lookout, a Volunteer Helper all year round hut for two. Since 2004 Lazy Duck has hosted over one hundred international Volunteer Helpers. These enterprising folk from every continent, have the opportunity to make a real contribution, to achieve some smallholding, environmental and hospitality skills as well as substantial personal growth.
At the Lazy Duck there is space for elemental living, personal reflection and a ‘recharging of batteries’. Since 1974 we have had the idea that this place is one to be shared with others four seasons round. This is how we have chosen to do it.”
It is now 2020. Badanfhuarain ground is shared between the younger generation of our family and Phil and Sarah whose arrival, last year, as steward tenants of the Lazy Duck heralds a new and invigorating era for what has become an iconic destination both for guests and for other hosts or would be hosts, kindred spirits from several countries, looking to share their own story and to tap into ours. Just a part of our story is the connection between our several life experiences and how we have seen the Lazy Duck inch forward. You can read about two such connections in this link to an edition of the Re-Foresting Scotland and British Waterfowl journals. We live, more quietly now, half a mile away in the village, still with an open door. In the search for our successors, we were privileged to examine interest from well over one hundred parties. In short and as the result of witnessing over the last eight months the first steps taken by Phil and Sarah, we remain thrilled at our choice. They are experienced, multi-skilled, dedicated, mindful of what has gone before, good fun and unafraid to make the Lazy Duck theirs, and yours.
David & Valery