Who says stunning scenery, million dollar views and an idyllic lifestyle are just the stuff of screensavers? Balhousie Care Group, which runs 25 homes across Tayside and north Scotland, argues that when you work in one of its rural care homes, these are some of the perks of the job.

Balhousie’s jewel in the crown is Alastrean House in Tarland, Aberdeenshire. Built in 1905 as a country retreat by Lord and Lady Aberdeen, it’s straight out of the pages of a magazine, with landscaped gardens, a beautifully remodelled interior, and an adjoining golf course built by ‘Old’ Tom Morris, the pioneer of professional golf.

Balhousie Care Group manages the property for the MacRobert Trust. And while it’s easy to attract clients to the stately care home, it’s not as easy to lure staff.

So Balhousie Care is embarking on a recruitment campaign with a difference – offering a relocation package that’s bound to appeal to anyone wanting a full-blown change of pace for 2020. There’s a ‘Golden Hello’ of £1000, a paid fare to Aberdeenshire, and free staff accommodation in – you guessed it – the historic house itself.

Says Balhousie Care Group’s head of recruitment Jordan Russell: “The simple fact is, Tarland and the surrounding area is a perfect place to move to if you’re sick of city life. With three-bedroom detached houses averaging just over £200k, properly prices are extremely affordable. The cost of living in rural Scotland offers you the best of both worlds, with larger properties at your fingertips as well as city life less than an hour away.”

Once you’re there, says Balhousie, there are plenty more pluses to choose from:

  • Mountain biking Tarland Trails score major brownie points from mountain bike enthusiasts. With three short downhill trails, rock drop-offs, berms and jumps, it has the added bonus of being completely free. This is a great experience for everyone from novices to experienced riders, single riders to families.
  • Munro bagging Popular walks in and around the village of Tarland include Alastrean and Corrachtree Circular Walks and Drummy Woods. Visitors can prepare for some ancient settings (stone circles abound), fortifications, grouse moors and breathtaking views over the Cairngorms. As for the Cairngorms themselves, they boast more than 50 Munros (Scottish mountains with a summit of at least 3,000ft).
  • Finding your own ‘Brigadoon’ If 3000 feet is a bit of a hike, there are plenty more walks and vistas to enjoy. Try the Muir of Dinnet, a nature reserve of woodland, lochs and rocks described by one recent visitor as “fairytale”.
  • Follow in the steps of the stars. It’s no wonder that the countryside surrounding Tarland is littered with film locations. The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, used Castle Fraser as one of its backdrops (and what a backdrop; it sports one of the largest towers in Scotland). Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven was the dramatic setting of Elsinore Castle in Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation of Hamlet. Meanwhile, the makers of the Outlander series used no less than three local castles when shooting the popular series: Castle Fraser, Craigievar Castle and Drum Castle.

5 more reasons to work in care

  • The flexibility. A job in a care home can be noon to 12 or 9 to 5, a split shift or a four-day week. Work hours are what you make them, and Balhousie Care Group works around family needs.
  • The career progression. Private sector care home working is a chance to rise through the ranks – fast. And if you don’t have qualifications to start with, you’ll get all the training and certification you need on the job.
  • The rewards. The joy of sharing stories with residents, jogging the memory of an older person with dementia, seeing an improvement in someone’s health or wellbeing, or helping a widower come out of his shell after losing his wife. These are just some of the ‘moments’ care home staff say they enjoy.
  • Busting the myths. Balhousie Care homes bust a lot of the myths of the sector. Resident activities include sailing lessons, apple picking, helping to devise next month’s menus, or taking your first swimming lesson at 95 (true story!)
  • Bright new future. From award-winning dementia initiatives to virtual reality technology, the future for elderly care is bright, and growing. With a string of awards to its name – seven this year – Balhousie Care Group is not just one to watch, it’s one to be part of.

Balhousie Care Group is recruiting carers and support staff at its home in Tarland, Aberdeenshire as well as locations in Perthshire.
Email careers@balhousiecare.co.uk or call 01738 254254. We’re offering Golden Hellos at selected locations.