2020 Volunteer/Community Tour - Shetland, Scotland

3 - Two-week Modules
Book for 2 to 6 weeks

10th-24th May     •|•     24th May-7th June     •|•     7th-21st June
From $580 per week
• Shetland • Yell • Unst • Muckle Flugga • Haroldswick • Lerwick •
• Restoration of a 300 year-old stone house •
• Benefit the local community in Unst •
• Small Group • Meet Locals • Cut Peat • Concerts • Culture • Guided Tours •
• Traditional Music Events • Historical Sites • Walks & Hiking •


The isle of Unst, Shetland, in the far north of Scotland, is a special and magical place. Green Olive CEO, Fred Schlomka, has spent several months a year there since he discovered the island in 2015 during a 5-month cycling tour of Europe with his wife. Read Fred's blog post about one of his trips to Shetland.

It is in Unst that we are now planning an annual retreat and Volunteer/Community Tour, and you are invited to join us. This will be no ordinary experience. It's a trip back in time, to a place where family and community are at the centre of life, and despite the difficulties of living in a remote area, the people of Unst are a proud reminder of a bygone era.  Getting there will include at least one UK inland flight, then two or three separate ferries to arrive at the island. But it's worth it.

On arrival you'll be met in Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, and the first day will be a grand tour ending in the island of Unst, where you'll be based. During each 2-week module, about half your time will be volunteer work on the restoration of a 300 year-old stone house known as the 'Hamars' nestled in the bay of the village of Haroldswick, just a stones throw from the most northern point of Scotland - known as Muckle Flugga. There will also be one volunteer work day when the group will participate in a project to benefit the local community - perhaps gardening at the local church, or entertaining residents of the Seniors Home.

Other activities will include touring the island archipelago with a local guide, learning about it's heritage and culture, cutting peat, visiting a croft, hiking, and various activities that will bring participants into close contact with local people. Community dinners, local music events and farmers markets are included.

The group will have basic but comfortable self-catering accommodations. The people of Unst speak English and are very welcoming.

Green Olive also conducts an annual music & culture tour to Scotland which culminates in a community concert in Unst. In 2020, on Friday 19th June, This concert will overlap with the Volunteer Camp just before the summer solstice.

The bay of Haroldswick is a favourite spot for the local seals and they often sun themselves on the rocky shore. The 'Hamars' was the property of one of the island's most prominent families, and its restoration will help maintain a key part of local heritage. The house is a 'Listed' Grade 'B' historic building with the Scottish National Trust.

Don't worry of you are not the hands-on construction worker-type. There will be plenty of light work to do on the house. The main attribute needed is a willingness to participate and maybe get your hands dirty a bit. Of course if you are a carpenter, mason or other skilled worker, your participation will be especially valued.

Although part of Scotland and the UK, Shetland's heritage derives mainly from the early Norse settlers and it's culture and traditions are seeped in the ancient lore of the vikings. The Celtic culture of Scotland has had some influence but is not predominant. Come and join this great adventure.