Can you offer 25 flexible hours of work over a 5 day week in return for free accommodation and a food allowance, for 2–3 months or a whole season from May to October?
• help prepare bunkhouse & huts with housekeeping to a really high standard?
• help move wood logs from the forest to our eco huts?
• help look after flowers, polytunnel and grounds?
• help with hens and ducks?
• help mend things?
• be a great host to visitors from world wide?
• be cheerful in rain, snow and glorious sunshine?
• be a non smoking team player while at the same time be self sufficient and personally resilient?
GREAT!! Get in touch with us.
Approach us at any time of year and find out what we are able to offer. An increasing number of volunteers who are thinking of joining in with us are looking quite seriously to understand all they can of the Lazy Duck ethos, our eco and hospitality practices, and the elemental living we promote. They are also looking for an extended stay. We find such folk really rewarding to have on board, so much so, that we give active preference to them when they get in touch looking for a three or four months stay.
Maren can be described in three ways, endlessly enthusiastic, boundlessly curious and Limitless in her effort. She is mature beyond her young years but adds a youthful vitality and shine. Her engagement with adventure is inspiring. On her time off, she went into the wild and undertook quite serious trips on the Cairngorm range.
Thomas brough a considerable energy to Lazy Duck, setting to work on some serious groundworks projects always with a cheery smile and time to talk about his passion of brewing. Before the end of his stay, Thomas brewed up six bottles of cider, to be given as a gift to the Original Duckeepers David and Valery. A gem of a man now back in the home country putting his energy and enthusiasm into Brouwerij Emelisse.
Lindsey was our true all rounder, looking after ducks, chickens and guests with confidence and style. She became a shepherdess by chance as the Soay flock where sent on on holidays and had to be rounded up. A flutist first, she wasn't afraid to delve into percussion and join the local orchestra. A big heart, open mind and keen sense of adventure.
Sandra from Germany was a great hit with the Team here and with guests. With previous experience working in a garden with her family and later in a language school Sandra was easily a welcoming face for weary wayfarers & a wicked wood chopper and timber logger. She was also handy with the ducklings and great guardian of the hot tub.
Noemi from Italy came to us from working with Syrian refugees in Turkey. Her break from this demanding work allowed us the benefit of her quiet and competent resilience together with her appreciative outlook to all those here in the Team. Noemi left us for a spell with Cairngorm Mountain and then set off to travel the Silk Road before taking up again with her work with refugees.
Tracy from Ireland, a graduate teacher in art, crafts and metals and latterly working with the Irish Jewellery Collective, was well used to being hands on. Tracy was just great at gardening, care of the ducks & sheep, mending things, hosting and housekeeping. Hugely popular in the Team for her serenity and humour Tracy is just one of the best.
Miles, looking for time out from a frenetic Edinburgh, was a real character with a love of literature and a willingness to engage with all jobs here, indoor or out, clean or not, technical or simple. With a hankering to engage with all things environmental, two legacies Miles left us are his clip of the Braemar Pipers, three scouting brothers playing in unison on the camping ground – exquisite, together with his innovatively carved sign for the Lookout Hut.
Katti from Germany was finishing her Masters Degree in Cultural Studies and engaged already in promotions back home in Stuttgart. To say Katti threw herself into everything Lazy Duck is an understatement. She was vigorous in all areas of our work together, delightful company and eventually returned home to take up a post in cafe culture promotions.
Tali from Ontario, Canada arrived by bike straight off the Silk Road in China. Amazingly she had cycled this most demanding of routes alone. This grit and determination Tali brought to Lazy Duck where she was happy to admit that, as well as helping us as strongly as she did, we also served as something of a crashing out pad for her after her exertions. She then set off on another adventure leaving us a lovely pictorial sketch map of our 6 acres. A print of this we now give to every visitor.
Catherine from Edinburgh helped us out hugely by accepting the role of paid Lead Volunteer when we found ourselves suddenly short of staff in our local team. Formerly an alternative health practitioner, Catherine organised us domestically like no other. We especially enjoyed her hilarious stories of characters and situations in her past life which she was more than happy to share at any party we had.
Janice a seeker after health and well being & former business woman came seeking space for herself and an opportunity to engage with a different lifestyle. Always active in making guests feel welcome, comfortable and pointing out to them the joys of her own country, Scotland and the gentle benefits to soak up simply by being here among the waterfowl and ancient trees, Janice added much to the Team.
Angie blew in from Alabama with a life experience of mother, sheep and cattle farmer, police woman, pharmaceutical assistant, teacher and true ambassador for the nicer side of the southern USA. Some dame was Angie and she connected hilariously with our guests and brought a great spirit into the Team during her stay. She says to watch out for her return to Lazy Duck.
Mark arrived as a Volunteer Helper from Newcastle via living in Edinburgh. A former departmental manager in a national bookstore and with a funded PhD in Creative Writing opportunity ahead of him Mark had fingers in many wordy pies. We are grateful to him for swiftly taking on the temporary vacancy of Assistant Manager when the position arose and keeping up with the steady workload as competently as he did. Part of his much needed relaxation was to help Marjory, our amazing local independent bookseller. We are looking out for his first novel!
Dan, a sports specialist and outdoor guide from Minnesota, USA came to us directly from Arctic Norway and left to go guiding on volcanoes in Central America. In between, we laughed a lot and watched him make good use of our Helpers’ bike and the great outdoor scene in the Cairngorms. Dan left us with a well crafted sawing horse to add to our much used collection.
Aleix from Tarragona, Catalonia is a master baker and psychology student with a passion for returning to the Lazy Duck. On this, his third time of volunteering Alex led a master class in sourdough baking, made music on guitar, gave great service to guests and was an impressive Spanish role model for Helpers from all over. His modest ways and attention to detail in everything he did as well as his affection for being here were much in evidence. Later Alex wrote fondly of his three volunteering experiences with us.
Gabriela, an architect from Rio de Janiero, Brazil was a star in the Team. Always happily on the go and ever looking for more to contribute we sometimes found ourselves making her slow down. Great with polytunnel gardening and with the livestock, she had great fun pulling dandelions and wild swimming in the nearby river and lochs. Her ambition to create perhaps something not unlike Lazy Duck now lies ahead of her. Despite the challenges to this idea posed in her own country we suspect she will succeed.
Tommy came from Norway via County Mayo, Ireland for a spell in the winter, helped with the painting of the new Lookout hut for volunteers and set off again by bike for home. A skilled tiler he was able to help out our ‘sister’ operation in the village when they were running up against a tight time deadline.
A substantial and incognito (hence no photo) eco-warrior with building, re-wilding and livestock experience in Cornwall and Bristol, Mark earned his reputation with us as he added some precious ideas to the completing of the Lambing Bothy. Unconventional in the nicest way he entertained and enlightened guests and our Team fairly non stop. He left us to continue his exploratory travelling further south.
Rosa and Aleix
Rosa, a nurse and humanitarian aid worker in Central African Republic and Aleix, an engineer, vegan chef and psychology student, both Catalans, gave us two great months of joyful, skilled assistance with building and with guests. They lived in the Lambing Bothy at a time when we were thinking about a dedicated eco hut just for Helpers. Aleix has returned for two more spells. Aren’t we lucky!
A classics graduate from New Zealand, Caroline met the challenges of our international clientèle with strength and a growing sensitivity, learning a lot from our many diverse guests along the way. After her two months with us she continued her hostel-help hopping in Scotland and we were glad she was able to drop in again later on her travels.
An ecology and conservation graduate from Australia Hayley had eight years experience of flagging up conservation and climate change issues for anyone who would listen as well as much hands on work in the bush and with mines. Her beautiful and laid back approach to life, so welcome here, almost masked a steely resolve to have the world address the crucial environmental issues so important to her. Good on her.
Silvina was a natural. An aerial silks teacher from Uruguay she became our second Winter Helper, excellent with guests and a joy to be with as she managed livestock, woodstocks and much else. From a sculpture garden in Granada and then Portugal, she brought great vitality to our winter months helping in just about everything we need to do.
Umut from Istanbul, Turkey had been working in film and TV. Impressive in conversation and in his take on the humanitarian situation in his own and nearby countries he and friends are planning an eco place for disadvantaged children. He helped much with the foundation digging for the new Lambing Bothy and impressed guests with his courtesy and efficiency.
Zhara originally from Tehran, then Dublin and finally Malaysia came bringing with her a keen interest in our culture and opinions. She was well able to share her own enviable experience in three continents while helping with the many daily tasks of a summer at the Lazy Duck.
Brian from Sicily came with everything to learn. A young man from a totally different background, Brian moved towards looking after himself and getting to grips with a working day, understanding instructions and appreciating the wisdom of learning from others. He left us to volunteer in a garden on the West Coast.
Claire, a deceptively tough minded lady from ‘down under’ impressed us as well as making us laugh with her tales of managing the workmen in her Australian mine, especially the foreman. There was little Claire could not contribute to L. Duck and she went off from here looking to work as an engineer for a spell in the UK.
Jack and Simone
Jack and Simone from Manchester and Ross-shire, Scotland were real novices on arrival. Once we all recognised they needed to learn from the bottom up it was possible to find activities for them in which they could succeed and contribute. Simone became a really helpful gardener and Jack helped with the livestock, wood moving and the welcoming of guests.
Alex from Catalonia did so well to improve his English to a point where he could be really helpful in welcoming English, as well as Spanish and Catalan speaking guests. He worked hard in the construction programme, with the wood fired hot tub, hay making and with the sheep and hens. He returned home to take up teaching.
Hielte, a student teacher from Brunswick, Germany, asked to join us on the recommendation of Torsten who was with us the year before. Quietly efficient in everything she did we learned to rely on Hielte for her gentle approach and subtle sense of humour.
Alex (Scotty) from Canberra, Australia came with a degree in physical health and hospitality and a passion for recycling and after school care programmes. Warm and generous by nature, there was nothing he could not offer to help us into the autumn cycle of homestead clear up and continuing good hospitality for guests. Managed with our funny yoga/ Tai Chi too!
Celia, a languages graduate from northern France, came for two months and stayed for six. Working on the Lambing Bothy, she was quite unafraid of heights, mud or anything else. Hugely hospitable to guests combining real French fervour for intelligent conversation and magnificent cuisine which often appeared from the oven in her caravan.
Dani, from Ontario, Canada was a wholly successful host and Lead Volunteer when called upon. She came for two months and stayed for five leading by example and becoming a great success with guests who were charmed by her efficient caring and attention to their needs. She also knew how to enjoy life beyond the Lazy Duck.
Martin and Isabel
Martin from Holland and Isabel, a Scot were on a journey of discovery. To live in Holland or Scotland? They came as our first volunteer winter helpers to live in the Lambing Bothy helping with livestock and the completion of bothy decoration. Planting maturing silver birch trees also figured as did exploring more of Scotland in their camper van.
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, 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, 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, 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, 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 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.
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, 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, 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, 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 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.
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, 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 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 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, 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 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, 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 and 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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 (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, 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, 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 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 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 and 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 and 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 and 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 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, 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 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 is a skilled photographer as well as timber mover – some of his shots are now included on both of our websites.
Rose Marie and Kristina
Rose Marie from Oregon and Kristina student in Berlin were a superb skilled team never without humour, and carefully painters too!
Josie, a psychologist from Louisiana and Josh from New Orleans, taking time out from reconstruction work following Hurricane Katrina,
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 and Lenka
Andre and 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 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 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.
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.
Foad is a skilled photographer as well as timber mover – some of his shots are now included on both of our websites.
Sharon and Shlomo
Sharon and 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 from Toronto, was probably our best gardener ever! Sadly for us she had to leave much sooner than she had expected.
Julia from Brunswick in Germany was taking a vital break from her demanding work in her own country with young refugees and preparing for a career in teaching. Meeting and looking after the needs of Lazy Duck guests from all over the world Julia met up with some challenging and contrasting cultures which should further help her with what comes next. Appreciative and hard working, she gave a lot.
While working in Moscow Ksenia helps out with a children’s therapeutic community some four hours to the south. It was on their recommendation that she came to help us at The Lazy Duck. We were not disappointed. Ksenia was calm, collected, inquisitive and hard working. We loved having her working alongside us.
Well experienced in administration and hospitality Vikki, from London, was a real outdoor girl who made good use of the physically challenging local scene here. She breezed through most situations, gave a lot and raised many a laugh. A substantial lady.