Why I Loved House Sitting in Scotland

House Sitting in Scotland 

While working in London, I was shocked to find that few of my English colleagues had ever visited their neighboring country Scotland.  Of those who had been, the majority only went to the major cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. This puzzled me since many great movies/shows are about and/or filmed in Scotland like Harry Potter, Braverheart, and Outlander. I was really interested in visiting Scotland and that’s when a fantastic opportunity came about…house sitting in Scotland. 

House sitting in Scotland

 


Getting a house sitting assignment in Scotland

In exchange for looking after a home, and a cat named Lucky, I was able to stay for free in the Scottish Highlands for one month! They best way I’ve found on how to become a house sitter is by becoming a member on a house sitting site. I was able to find my house sitting assignment through MindMyHouse, which connects homeowners from all over the world with house sitters. MindMyHouse offers the cheapest membership option at just $20/USD for the year.

Click here for more details on how to become a house sitter and house sitting tips. After a few email exchanges, I  landed my very first house sitting assignment in Scotland. My assignment was based in a rural area called Kiltkalirty which was a 25-minute bicycle ride to the nearest town of Beauly. 

Town of Beauly, Highlands, Scotland

Staying in the Highlands was a welcome retreat. After living in London for almost a year, I was ready for some fresh air and open space. Everything is so green, there are more sheep than people and even the water tastes better. The house was next to a small farm where I had sheep, goats and a couple horses as neighbors. 

Scottish Highlands

 


What a House Sitter Does 

What a House Sitter Does

I started the assignment by arriving three days early while the homeowners’ were still there so that I could get acquainted with Lucky the cat and get an overview of what I was expected to do while the homeowners’ were away. They were very warm and welcoming and even picked me up from the airport. Even though I was a stranger (and it was a bit awkward to hold a conversation for a lengthy period), we got on well.

 

This was a third time for them inviting house sitters to stay, so it was a breeze walking through my tasks. My responsibilities consisted of:

 

  • Feeding Lucky twice daily
  • Letting Lucky out at night and inside when she started meowing in the morning
  • Watering all the plants and garden when needed
  • Keeping the place tidy
  • Answering any phone calls and collecting the mail
  • Mowing the lawn (which I happily gave to Jugo to do)

 

All of the tasks were easy to manage on a daily basis and left plenty of time for exploring the Highlands. While I was in a very rural area, there were still plenty of things to do.

 


Having Fun in The Highlands

 

Go on a highland Walk 

Trails for a highland walk are everywhere with large trees surrounding, endless fields, streams of fresh water, cows, horses, goats, sheep, and many raspberry bushes, elderflower and other plants for foraging. Because the sun wouldn’t go down until close to midnight, a little hike was perfect after dinner. 

Go on a highland Walk

Cycling

The cycle routes in Scotland and the Highlands are known to be some of the best in the world. Some of the best cyclists will travel to Scotland to train. Unfortunately, I’m not in shape so I was constantly huffing and puffing up the hills. 

Cycle routes in Scotland

Beauly Priory

Beauly Priory is a hauntingly beautiful sandstone ruin from 1230. It sits in the town of Beauly where it is said the name came from Mary Queen of Scott’s. When she visited in 1564 and she cried out “Quel beau lieu!” which means what a beautiful place!”

 

Highland Scotch Whiskey 

A visit to Scotland isn’t complete without tasting some highland scotch whiskey!

Jugo and I went on a 45-minute cycle ride to visit Glen Ord Distillery which was founded in 1838, in the tiny town of Muir of Ord.

They offer a selection of great tours starting with a scotch newbie like myself all the way to the connoisseur. The tour costs  £6 and includes learning about the process of making scotch. You also get to taste a 12-year-old single malt. Interesting enough, this distillery only sells their scotch in South East Asia.

 

Watching the Indigenous Scottish Game of Shinty

An ancient game said to predate Christianity, shinty is a team sport that Highlanders play and was previously used to help train boys for warfare.

It seems like a crazy game. It’s similar to ice hockey by playing with sticks and a ball but more brutal than American football. Most noteworthy, players wear just a cup for protection. The sport allows players to raise their sticks to hit the ball in mid-air, use it for blocking, attacking, and even tackling is allowed. 

 

Inverness

Overlooking the city is Inverness castle with picturesque views. You’ll see a lot of old historic buildings around and locals with bagpipes playing Celtic tunes. 

Inverness Scotland Highlands

 

Dolphin Spotting 

There’s a lot of wildlife in the highlands which includes dolphins. There are many tour operators which can take you on a boat in the Moray Firth loch. If you aren’t up for a boat ride a popular site to catch them is at Chanonry Point.

 

 Hunting for Nessie at one of the best Scottish highlands Castles 

One of the most famous Scottish Highlands castles is Urquhart Castle which overlooks Lochness. This is the perfect opportunity for your chance to spot Nessie. This is the site of an ancient ruin castle from the 13th and 16 centuries. Also, it is one of the largest castles in Scotland. Tickets to visit cost £9 per adult.

Although I didn’t find the mythical sea monster I was able to catch the sun setting from the castle which was a magical view in itself.

Urquhart Castle one of the best scottish highlands castles

 


 Highlights to House Sitting in Scotland 

Firstly, I think house sitting is a fantastic way to travel cheaply around the world and I couldn’t have found a better location to start with than house sitting in Scotland!

Secondly, caring for the home and cat were easy to manage. I’d actually look for future house sits with cats since I think they require far less work than dogs (even though I am a crazy dog lover).

Through my experience, I was really able to explore Scotland and local life. I was only with the homeowners for a few days but I learned so much about Scotland like shinty, cycling, and general things to do that’s often overlooked or not included in your travel guide books.

I loved my house sitting experience and look forward to doing it again.

 

*Just last week, Jugo and I accepted a house-sitting assignment in Kenya this fall and we can’t wait to share that experience with you!

 


Still want more?

 



22 thoughts on “Why I Loved House Sitting in Scotland

  • My favorite country that I’ve traveled to is Scotland so this would be a dream come true for me! Looks fantastic! And on a side note, our neighbors here in the States are from England and they’ve never been to Scotland or even considered it. They were shocked that we had been there – twice. Too funny.

    • I’m glad I found another Scotland fan! Where about’s did you visit in Scotland on your two trips? I’m dreaming about making a second visit!
      P.S- That’s too funny about your neighbors!

  • Wow! What a great “job.” A friend of mine just return from her 4th house sitting stint in Paris. She is able to stay 6 to 8 weeks without having to pay for accommodation. Her duties are very similar to the ones you had (well she had to take care of two dogs). I think this is an excellent option for those who want to explore for an extended period of time. Now, you can brag to your English friends! #WeekendWanderlust

    • I’m jealous that your friend got to housesit in Paris! That’s a perfect place to sit since accommodation is very expensive there. I think I’ve got all my English friends making plans to visit Scotland for their next trip 🙂

  • Looks like you had such a lovely time. Loved all of your photos, they made me super excited about going to Scotland next year. May have to look into house sitting sites once our current cat sitter is no longer able to watch our cats. We have two cats and often travel and I would love to be able to share some of our area with others.

    • Thanks so much Sarah! That’s very exciting that you will be going to Scotland next year, I hope to return again soon. House-sitting is a great option for your cats. I’m sure they will get lots of attention and be will be taken care of by any house sitter you choose.

  • I love Scotland and like you, am often surprised by fellow Londoners who’ve never visited even once! I’ve never tried house-sitting but it makes sense to give yourself a decent length of stay in the Highlands, without blowing the budget. I am loving your photographs of the beautiful landscapes. Beauly Priory is also very photogenic! We went to Inverness for a friend’s wedding there a few years ago, such a lovely city on the riverbanks. We’ve also driven up from Glasgow to Islay (taking the ferry crossing) a few times, which we love.

    • Hi Kavita, thanks so much for your comment. Glad to hear that you’ve gotten the chance to visit Scotland. Inverness is amazing and feels like stepping back in time with its old buildings. I’ve never been to Islay but may have to try a road trip there from Glasgow next time since I love ferries!

    • Thanks for your comment Madhu. I can’t stop talking about how great Scotlanf is so I really hope you get a chance to visit in the nearby future! House sitting is definitely a great way to experience local culture and budget travel.

  • What a brilliant way to travel on a budget! I’ve been thinking my partner and I might start housesitting when we travel to lower our costs, and then might get others to come and housesit at our flat & take care of our cat! If you ever fancy a trip to Glasgow, let me know 🙂

    • Hi Katharina, Thanks for your comment. I can’t reccommned house sitting enough! It really opens you up to a new travel expereince since you really get into local life. I hope you and your partner can try it soon. I’ve been dreaming about returning to Scotland and experincing the city life in Glasgow sounds like a blast so lets stay in touch! 🙂

  • Okay, so this is my dream — I got married in the small village of Elgin, Scotland and have been dying to go back. I’ve heard about house sitting in Europe, but had no idea of how to make it happen, so this is incredibly useful and right up my alley. Bookmarking!

    • Hi Lindsay, Thanks for your comment. Getting married in a small village in Scotland sounds so romantic and dreamy! That must have been an absolute amazing wedding. There’s so many options for house sitting in Europe especially for France and Spain, if that’s where your looking to travel to. I also did a house sit in Kenya recently so you can find options to travel all over the world with house sitting. Hope you get a chance to give it a try!

  • I just found your blog on Pinterest! I love this idea of house sitting! Do you know if owners ever allow families to house sit for them? I’m married with two little kiddos so I’m not sure if this would really even be an option for us, but it’s definitely intriguing!

    • Hi Crystal, thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad that you like my post on housesitting. There are some housesitting assignments that allow kids to join so it’s just a matter of looking on the postings. On Trusted Housesitters, they make it easier where you can check off family friendly as one of the filters. Hope you get a chance to give it a try and let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

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