Volunteers

The end of aturdimiento

All in the balance: Pic HtP

It is the hardest thing in the world not to hug departing friends who you have become close to during anxious times. This was the situation two weeks ago when Alberto and Alicia of Here the Planet where nervously standing at the check in queue for their flight from Inverness back home to Madrid. The world in chaos. Not even fist bumps, just anxious eyes and rueful smiles. We’ll meet again some day, I’m sure.

Rewind two months to January and the start of video conversations arranged in a Workaway message. Alberto and Alicia had asked to come and work with us as Volunteers during March. We needed help finishing low season refurbishments and creating website ‘virtual tours’. Our project was agreed and soon enough, we met at Inverness Airport. Although the flight had decanted a mixed bunch, it was clear immediately who our guests where and their curious ‘is that you?’ smiles confirmed our identity. Back home and we set to work on fleshing out our project over an evening meal.

Challenge followed almost immediately, a family bereavement. Bags only just unpacked where hastily tidied away and left in The Homestead while our Volunteers flew back home. A groundhog day visit to Inverness Airport followed the next week returning Alberto and Alicia to Lazy Duck via another late night, snow clad journey. Immediately the project was picked up where it was left off. New and now essential elements of our video, drone flyups, where introduced. Not only back but firing on all cylinders.

The ever looming and eventually decisive Covid-19 situation began unfolding. Difficult troubling times. On a daily basis we reviewed the situation until news reports starting talking of border closures. Our business was almost certainly closing and the realisation for us all was the long lockdown and limited movement that we are now in (at the time of writing). Alberto and Alicia’s plans where to move through Scotland after our project so our last evening meal was spent hastily finding flights home to Spain for the next day. That time now seems like a world away.

But we just received the material from Here the Planet and, well …

Alberto and Alicia listen intently, interpret concept precisely, work courageously while communicating what they have understood, and are working towards. Mature enough to be seeking experience. Experienced enough to interpret a project brief and manage their client. They delivered a 6 week project in less than two onsite, with three from Cadiz.

You will see their work littered throughout our new website, especially the virtual tours of:
• Our New Lookout Bunkhouse for families and small groups;
• The Award winning, iconic Woodman’s Hut;
• A refurbished and sun soaked Homestead Lodge;
• Lazy Duck’s namesake, the Duck’s Nest.

The Cairngorms Northern Corries from Woodman’s Porch: Pic HtP

In these troubling times, it’s good to look forward to a more positive future where we all take stock, slow down and think about how we impact on the environment and people: immediate community, family, friends and strangers. Adventurers currently only in the mind will be free to fly again soon. Our tick list includes the Badger Divide and our first Spoken Word festival at Samhain. When we can move freely again, I am sure we will all value and respect this previously assumed privilege more. Until then stay safe, stay well and we look forward to seeing you on the other side.

A mandarin pair, soaking up warm Spring waters: Pic Alyson Stewart