Family vacation in Scotland, nature & activity

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family vacation in Scotland, nature & activity

Environment

Accomodation is run by a small, intentional community, committed to living and working by socially sustainable principles. Our major project for 2014 is to transform our large 1890ís Victorian country house into a completely carbon-neutral base for all our activities. We will be using multiple renewable energy sources including sun, wind and wood fuel. The infrastructure is being designed both to maximize efficiency and for educational access.

In the last year, we have reduced our carbon output by 45% by switching to wood-burning stoves and aim to be 90% carbon-free this year by switching completely to wood and solar-thermal.

Alongside this big project we are not neglecting the daily choices. For example we compost all our food waste, have a car-share scheme and use low energy lighting. We either recycle paper or use it for composting and wherever possible, we avoid using printed materials and market via the Internet. For any materials we do print we use an award winning environmentally friendly printing company based in the next village.

As we are based in the UK it is possible to travel here using a lower carbon option than flying. There is an excellent sleeper train service from London to Inverness and trains and coaches from most large cities. Bringing your own car is also a good option if there is a group of you, allowing a car share. To encourage people to choose one of these lower carbon options we can help you with planning your transport and route. For those of you who do need to fly, we provide an optional offsetting scheme.

Whilst our courses and workshops are based within the community, we have close connections with the Findhorn Foundation, and the much larger community that surrounds the Foundation itself. As members of this larger community through the New Findhorn Association we support and have access to a unique eco-village model which has the lowest recorded ecological footprint for any community in the industrialised world, just half the UK national average.

Community

We contribute to the local economy in a number of ways. We grow most of our own vegetables and fruit, make our own bread and apple juice and sell some of this produce at the local Farmerís Market.
We forage in the local woods and work to preserve, dry and cure as much home produce as possible.

When we need to buy in we source as locally as we can. For example though mostly vegetarian, when we buy meat we use a local butcher whose produce is all sourced locally to a very high welfare standard or from a local smallholding and buy our cheese and yoghurt from a local dairy. Itís also important that our suppliers are socially responsible and employ local people. For example, many of our dried goods come from a local whole food shop that is a community owned enterprise.

Our volunteer program covers numerous areas including gardening, cooking and the complexities of maintaining a listed building. These are skills people can then use to find employment. The program also provides a sense of community and identity for those involved and develops their team working and communication skills. When we need to bring in people to help with building and maintenance work, we use local companies. We also provide therapy rooms (for example, for massage or reflexology) that are used by local practitioners.
We are forming partnerships with local individuals and organizations that are able to provide a broad range of educational experiences in many aspects of sustainability ranging from conservation and ecology to conflict resolution and non-violent communication. We are also starting an exciting program to foster social inclusion and local culture using a range of local performers. Within the house, rooms are decorated with a variety of locally sourced antique linens and furniture we feature artwork by local artists.

The members hold a wealth of local knowledge and a wide skill-set so whether your question is about organic farming, how to build a chicken run, what happens in our shamanic sweat lodge, how best to preserve turnips or where the best local pub/organic bakehouse/pottery is we are certain to be able to help!

Reviews of Family vacation in Scotland, nature & activity

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 11 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


This is a truly relaxing place, especially if you travel with your family and look for some space for yourself as a parent. We have been welcomed and supported by the community spirit of this house. I was feeling very safe, knowing that my children were about running in the grounds or talking with everybody as true members of the family (not a babysitting place!).
It is also situated in a fabulous garden, surrounded by a magical wood (I recommend an early morning walk). You can have the best of both worlds (or more) as you are in a famous area for spotting dolphins and seals in the sea, walking in the Cairngorms mountains and contemplating deer on the wooded river banks (or just diving into it!). Wildlife is abundant and nature stunning.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Just book.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Amongst others, I can mention the house run on an environmentally friendly scheme, the organic locally sourced food - mostly VERY local as it comes from the garden. The family vacation included some carefully chosen excursions, which not only contributed to the local economy but were facilitated by experts in conservation work. All contributed to awaken and support awareness of (wild)life in small ones and grown-ups alike.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was one of the best vacations I spent with my family, truly relaxing. We all feel re-energised, taken care of (did I mention extra well-being options for parents???) and personally, I really feel our vacation has made a major contribution to pass the message to the next generation about taking care of our lovely planet.

Reviewed on 13 Aug 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Taking part in the bushcraft activity and watching our grandchildren as they tried wild foods and made fire. The enthusiasm with which they approached every new challenge and the knowledge that they gained is priceless. Our very articulate and patient guide communicated at the appropriate level for the adults and children to gain the maximum from the event. She could not have done more.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go with the flow and don't even consider that the weather is going to be a problem. This is an activity vacation so be prepared to be active. The more effort that you put in the more you will get out of the time.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The food supplied was, as far as possible, locally produced and of very high quality. All of the activities involved local small companies that have an eco-friendly attitude to business. There seemed to be a collective attitude amongst those involved that they would only collaborate with other like minded people and organisations to promote a healthy and sustainable way of doing business.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A very enjoyable vacation particularly for the children who have not stopped talking about it yet.

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


This was a very nice vacation and I loved seeing the Dolphins and Badgers and it was very exciting! I will always remember seeing the Dolphins because that is the first time I have seen them in the wild, but the most memorable thing I did was lighting a fire with flints. This was a brilliant vacation, even though I was the only child on the trip (age 13) I was kept very well entertained with Poppy the dog, I never even felt lonely! x
I have to agree with my daughter and say that the sight of dolphins was fantastic. Debbie passed on such a lot of her knowledge about them and their environment, her enthusiasm and passion definitely rubbed off on us and there was a lot of whooping and wooing as the various groups of dolphins made an appearance. Badger watching was also a highlight for me as there is something quite exciting about hiding out just waiting. The coast is absolutely beautiful and just walking next to the sea is refreshing.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Pack shorts because even if you think Scotlandís windy and rainy its not! It was dry nearly every day we were there! Also do the white water rafting if your up for it, its really fun!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We travelled by train and bus hopefully minimizing our carbon footprint. Debbie supplied food which was sourced locally and also very delicious. We supported local businesses, visiting farm cafes, taking part in activities which Debbie had ensured were supporting the community and the environment

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I loved it! It helped the environment and taught you a lot about the area and animals around you. We were kept entertained and had a really fun time - I will always remember this vacation. I was so pleased that both my daughter and me were able to enjoy everything that was on offer. Debbie introduced us to some wonderful people and we have come home feeling inspired. It was also great not to have to worry about organising our days.

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