New from Highlands, Scotland - Owner

Hi Everyone.,

I hope this finds everyone well and staying safe !
My place is near the coast in N Scotland, (UK), and I’ve mini horses, hoping that I might find a pet sitter from time to time for them.
As my place is a renovation project do people mind staying in a caravan?
So thought I’d join the forums and see how things are here and see if maybe perhaps I can help others too ?

Wishing you all well.

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Hi @AuroraMagic and welcome! Mini horses & the North coast of Scotland? Sounds brilliant, I’d stay in a tent :rofl:

Joking aside, I am sure you would find sitters who would be willing to stay in the caravan for short stays. It might be harder finding longer term sitters and you’d probably need to take the season into account but for for short getaways I imagine you would have your choice of sitters, your location & animals sound great. I had a lovely sit in a caravan once for a homeowner in a similar situation, they were living in it while their barn was being converted.

I’d say sign me up but I’m in Canada. Maybe one day!

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Hi @AuroraMagic Welcome to the forum! I find it very interesting that you have mini horses. I was watching a comedy show the other day about these two sisters who are always competing with each other. Their father had gotten the younger sister a horse when she was about 10 years old, but not a horse for the older sister. The sisters are in their late 20s and the father let it slip that the horse was still alive and sometimes the younger sister would take the horse on rides. The younger sister got jealous and came up with the bright idea to order a horse through the mail. She so wanted to outdo her younger sister. When the horse arrived, she went to go see the horse in the stable and it turned out to be a mini horse. :rofl: Sorry, for the long story–How many mini horses do you have? Any photos to share?

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Aww thanks @Lindsay !
My issue is that I have another property and lodgers can leave. So it might take me 2-3 months sometimes to find a new suitable lodger! Or I can be south when I need to attend Events for my business and perhaps to do some DIY etc.
The horses only need feeding and some poo-picking (about an hour in all). But if someone wanted to brush them gently then that’s fine.
I’ve a nearby horsey neighbour who could check things, if anything arose initially, plus I’ve CCTV to check the horses when I’m away.
Maybe the long stay is not suitable for many so perhaps I’d need a few people for 2-3wks at a time ?
I have a separate caravan for guests.
Do people expect heating and food ? What happens with that please?
Yes winter can be pretty cold and snowy here!
I have a lot of wildlife here, from owls, red kites, migrating geese, buzzards, occasionally golden eagles (in summer), deer, pine martins, weasels, and heaps of other birds and once saw a wild cat!

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Hi @sharondc,
hahahaha how mad that she ordered a horse in the mail! :smiley:
They ( as a breed) have been used for adverts or films here and there. I ‘just’ breed them! :smiley:
I have 3 mares and one colt foal (4months).


I’ll see if I can add a photo or 3 !!

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It sounds fabulous. I love a proper Canadian winter but I also love Scotland so it sounds right up my alley! People like different experiences and some of us sitters are a quirky bunch, so I think finding the right sitter just depends on the personality of the people who see your listing! Your sit sounds amazing to me and I know it will sound the same to some of the other form users, but it also wouldn’t be for everyone, and that’s ok.

As far as for what sitters expect, I would never expect the homeowner to provide food, but I would typically expect that the heating be covered. Although to be fair it’s not something that I’ve thought about a lot, as I have never done a sit where I have been asked to provide my own so it may just be something that needs to be negotiated.

The key to a successful sit is communication, I would be really detailed in your listing about what you need, what the accommodation is, and what the sitter can expect while they are there, and I have no doubt you’ll find somebody great. You could advertise it as a long sit but mention that your dates are flexible and it could be split up so that the sitter knows there is some wiggle room.

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Hi @AuroraMagic Wow! They are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos!

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Hi aain @Lindsay,
Thank you! :smiley:
The only reason that I mention heating is I’m on fairly tight budgets until my business gets back on it’s feet (I’ve had a number of bereavements) and I tend to add jumpers when it starts to get cold.
And having had lodgers I know they can ‘just’ turn on a heater and not care too hoots about how much it costs. One lodger cost me an extra £80 in a month! My electrics costs had just tripled in 6mths and the gas bottles have now doubled in cost! Its really dire! But I want someone to be comfortable.
I do everything with an agreement, so everyone knows where they stand.
I would worry someone may not turn up when another is leaving, but perhaps with experience, confidence can build! :smiley:
I’m trying to get hold of another static and then can add in a log stove, so then that would help! At least logs haven’t gone up too much, yet!
I’ve typically had a local couple come to feed and check the horses, but tragically the husband recently died and, I don’t think the wife will come by herself. But even if she did, I’d still like to have other options and alternatives in place. So hence my finding this website and enquiring. :smiley:

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Hello @AuroraMagic - welcome to the group!
Mini horses in the Highlands of Scotland sounds like a fantastic sitting experience. I don’t think the caravan would be an issue but it would have to be clean and warm. I have stayed in caravans in the winter before and they can be freezing meaning the heating has to be on almost permanently - obviously this costs so would be something you would have to factor in …is it better for you to pay for local people to come daily to care for the horses or to get a free sitter but pay for their heating?
Sitters will not expect you to provide their food. How long is your renovation likely to last?

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Welcome @AuroraMagic and we hope you enjoy the forum, where I can see you’ve already got plenty of feedback on your question. This community is such a good place to be able to see what people think about all sorts of situations, and we appreciate you taking the time to get feedback before listing.

I always say there’s a sitter for every scenario, some may just be a little harder to find than in a more traditional home setting. The important thing is that the sitters are comfortable, warm and safe. So to your question about heating, that’s would be something that would be expected, however, as for food that’s something sitters normally organise for themselves. That said if you are extremely remote and it’s difficult to get supplies, it is a topic for discussion as helping with supplies would be a welcome gesture.

I’m sure you’ll get more feedback, but here’s a copy of the Code of Conduct which will help give you some standard requirements, and our membership services team are always on hand to help with best practices and advice to make sure you have a successful experience.

This does sound like a special environment!

https://forum.trustedhousesitters.com/t/resources-member-code-of-conduct/

Do enjoy connecting in the forum, and if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask.
All the best, Vanessa

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Hi @AuroraMagic and welcome. Mini horses in the Scottish Highlands sounds a fantastic experience. Staying in a caravan for a long period of time may not be for every sitter, but there are likely to be some who would be up for the adventure. We are a family of 4 and when we are not sitting, we like to go camping in our trailer tent, so we’d be happy in a caravan for a shorter period.
Younger son has always bee rather wary of horses because of their size, but I think he’d be much more comfortable with mini horses!

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Hi Debbie,

Thank you for the words of encouragement. There’s ample space to explore for you all from beaches to moors.
The caravan I have for guests would be tight for 4 and if in the summer then may be a ‘hut’ that I have might work for the kids?
I am trying to source another static as that would be better with a log stove as then I could add on proper radiators too!

I think the heating is a really tough one in the winter months. I typically will leave it off until it’s getting below 12degrees regularily (the outside cold then isn’t such a ‘shock’), but the daylight sun will heat up a caravan very quickly!
Like today it’s now 25.6 degrees C, but was 12 this morning, 9 yesterday! A prime expample! But I haven’t yet turned it on becuase it is now so mad expensive unless I really, have to, but I use it for cooking along with the mircowave. (I do at least now have mains electrics here!) :smiley:
So really it’s often only the evening that it’s needed for 4-6hrs perhaps.
If propane is used all day for heating, and some cooking, then one 47Kg propane (now £80-96each) will run out in 2wks quite easily. They hope it may drop back to £60 each when I buy two at a time but who knows if that will happen!

So how might you address this ?
I wondered about giving a new 47kg bottle and ‘it ought to last you at least 6- 8weeks’ ? But more people would create heat in a carvan, but then you’d need to cook more food too ?
I know if the temperature drops then of course people might need more… ? But what’s fair and proportionate ?
Hence the static and a log stove really!

I’d want someone to be comortable and warm of course! :smiley:

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HI Debbie,
Sorry I forgot to say that the horses are really friendly and 3 love a cuddle especially the foal. One mare is always a little stand off-ish.
So a nervous youngster may find more confidence. But they are horses, and very inquisitive so happy what to know about everything you’re doing. I can write down heaps of notes, tips, ideas and suggestions to help.
I’m not ‘on holiday’ so can easily be contacted and will return a call as quickly as I can if I can’t answer it immediately.
I hope that helps. :smiley:

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Hi Colin
Thank you for your reply.
Your considerations of heating a c’van all day is exactly what I’d fear. I perfectly accept that we all want to be warm of course. But I know from lodgers some are happy at 18 C and others want 25 C all day/night long! We’re all different.

I’ve said to Debbie that I personally have it colder and in part this is because I like to watch our for the Aurora Borealis! Which I can see from here, I’m that far North. (Along with long dark winter nights and long bright summer ‘nights’!)

As I have already said the husband to the local couple who’ve kindly taken care of my property and horses for a long time, tragically and very recently died, and I’m unsure yet if the lady will continue this alone. So I’m looking for a back up plan. My local farmer is happy to check on them and continue to supply the hay of course and this maybe enough. But i’m just trying to see if this website is possible. If so then I’ll promote it and see if anyone is interested,

If I’m south for 4 weeks then it’s not so long and perhaps easier to accommodate. But if the weather holds then I’d like to complete some DIY when south. So I think I’d have to allow for 6-8wks ideally.

I have managed to get in fibre to the property (took nearly a yr!) so someone could potentially work from here, if they so chose. :grinning:

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For me, staying in a caravan might be interesting for a week or two, but not longer in winter.

Saying that a tank of gas “ought to last at least 6-8 weeks” in winter seems unfair to sitters, unless you clarify that this only applies if heating is barely used. Most people will want a warm place, so it would be more honest to say that “a tank will last X weeks if temps are kept at, say, 18 degrees C and there is no cooking.” The people interested in using a caravan might have experience with gas usage, so maybe they can figure out how long a tank would last given their heating and cooking needs. I would have no idea.

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Hi ElaineInDallas,
Thank you for your reply and interest. :smiley:

I couldn’t agree more, and I need to explain how to have it work for best effect, clearly.
We learned the hard way, and I want someone to be warm but there are techniques to help it stretch without being stingy! And I guess that’s what I’m trying to find a fair and sensible balance to help others be warm and be fair and sensible. :grinning:
I knew this morning it will be a sunny day so starting at 12 is cool, but now it’s 26.2 and too hot! :smiley: So I know in the morning that if I can wait then it will warm up. But if a cold less sunny day, then it could be a bit colder to freezing. Then I’d turn on the heating on low and allow it to gradually build up the heat.
Yeah I’d need to find some way of explaining it as the knob on the heater is just a ‘turn knob’, and at the moment the propane bottles have no monitor dial either.
I can look into this, to see if I could add a dial to show capacity, as that would help. It’d also prove ‘full’ and help it be monitored during use.

My local town is just 3 miles away and I’ve a bicycle anyone could borrow… buses can be flagged down and people will offer lifts (perhaps less with CV19) !

I have wondered about car use but for now I need to look into that.
One local take-away and all the Grocery stores will do home deliveries here.
Thank you for your input.

I’m finding people are being so helpful here, and all this feedback is so informative. Thank you all! :smiley:

I love this location, the scenery and big open skies, (can see the milky Way too), are just stunning and breathes life into your soul. :smiley:

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I just want to say @AuroraMagic that what you have to offer is unique and extraordinary. I have been following this thread with delight.
You are offering an experience, one that Some would be thrilled to have.
Please do post.
I am booked well into the Spring-Summer next year but if I could I would be messaging you.
Best wishes and please do keep sharing your wonderful slice of heaven with us.
(Sigh)
Amparo

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Hi Amparo,
Awww that’s so kind of you to say. Thank you. I do like to do my research and then lay things out clearly.

I’ve just been thinking that with the money tree fairly plucked all year, that I’ve begun to think that it’s just too difficult, and just too expensive!

I do have a ‘maybe’ plan for next year, with a friend, but that too may change! Summer will be easier of course (& I rare even get midges here, but they can arrive!) … but it would be nice to have options, and to meet some of the lovely sounding people on here. And I’d love to give others the ‘Highland Life’ albeit for a short time, as I’m so proud of the sheer beauty !
I am encouraged, but it’s tricky.
Thank you for your feedback it’s all really appreciated. :smiley:

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Well I will be in the UK so I will be keeping an eye out and I am very open to learning and helping wherever I can.

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I stayed in a caravan for three weeks in Invergorden one January many moons ago. I was waiting to move into a house. I got dressed to go to bed and I was never late for work, in fact I was in there at breakfast time because the canteen was warmer than the caravan.
Luxury was having a shower at a friends house. It was a necessity but I wouldn’t repeat it again.
Good luck and I hope it all works out for you.

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