This summer, David from Glasgow undertook a rural volunteering adventure at Auchindrain. Together David, with other intrepid international volunteers from France, took part in archaeological digging, singing and camping. He is happy to share his story with everyone on gaining a new perspective of Scotland, learning a lot about rural life – and himself!
I had never heard of summer camps before, but heard about them through Xchange Scotland’s mailing list. I had also met Chiara and Ana at an event, who also run Xchange Scotland’s NOMADs project.
Why Auchindrain? Well, I fancied something in the middle of nowhere, which is so different from being in a big city like Glasgow. I volunteer at many different organisations in Glasgow but this is something new!
What surprised you? That I had a phone signal! My phone signal was good, though I think I was the only one! Even the camp leaders were jealous by the end of our 2 weeks.
I also really liked camping. I preferred the tents to staying indoors, even when the weather was bad. The rain didn’t bother me – and it rained a lot! I got a tent to myself which was like a luxury.
What were your favourite things about Auchindrain? The visitor centre was cozy, plus the food was nice. The cakes were good! The social aspect was excellent, especially the parties at night time. We had a ceilidh and we got one of the interns to sing and play guitar.
I thought it was going to be more nature based, but the digging was interesting. We found old, buried horse shoes! We found leather, glass and lots of other treasures. Some of the tasks were relaxing and we worked together companionably.
What challenged you? The weather! It was either too hot or too cold. For that reason, it did feel good to go back to Glasgow and appreciate home comforts.
The cockerels who live onsite were also challenging. They would wake us up every morning! They were louder than an alarm on your phone!
At the end of our fortnight together, The French volunteers could understand my accent better than some of the other Scottish volunteers. I even went swimming in Inveraray and enjoyed a day out there!
What would you tell anyone interested in volunteering at a work camp? I would tell everyone to try out an exchange once, just for the experience. I would do it all again next year. I loved it!