Wildlife ranger job opportunity on remote Island with Scottish Wildlife Trust closing to applications this month

Handa lies just off the coast of Sutherland and is remote enough to feel that you have left everyday worries such as Covid behind you – but is still just a short boat ride back to the mainland.

Occupied only by wildlife for most of the year, Handa, a short three mile boat trip from Scourie, via the pier at Tarbet, is home to some signature Scottish species with otters, dolphins, whales and seals often seen from its coast.

In the summer, more than 200,000 seabirds including kittewakes guillemots and razorbills, gather to breed and attract thousands of enthusiastic bird-watchers.

And while Handa has had no full-time inhabitants since 1848, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, which manages the island with owners Scourie Estate, is advertising for a seasonal ranger on a six-month contract. The pro-rata salary is equivalent to an annual wage of £17,290.


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And it could be the perfect summer post for a couple seeking to take a break from a more hectic lifestyle and receive an income while recharging their internal batteries between March and September.

Though it is one post, applications from both jobshare or individual candidates will be considered and the accommodation provided is suitable for one sharing couple or for one individual ranger.

"This exciting role requires excellent organisational skills, coupled with a high degree of flexibility," the advert states.

"You will be responsible for organising work programs for yourself and a team of volunteers, with the ability to constantly adapt your plan according to changing conditions.


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Wildlife ranger job opportunity on remote Handa Island with Scottish Wildlife Trust closing to applications this month. (Picture credit: Alan Anderson)

"Living and working with your team, and other occasional guests, will play to your excellent people skills, and you will be comfortable in a highly sociable environment. This role at times can be physically demanding yet hugely rewarding and will more than satisfy your desire to work outdoors in a remote and stunning location."

Weekly trips toScourie are necessary to do laundry, banking, shopping and exchange gas bottles.

Therefore, a driving licence and access to a vehicle are both essential for the role.


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Candidates must have "a thorough knowledge of seabird monitoring methodology and practice; have sound knowledge of marine and terrestrial natural history and be able to produce an annual report on the season's activities". Applications close on January 17.

The impact of the pandemic last year meant there was no need to recruit scores of short-term volunteers, who are normally needed to oversee members of the public who take the passenger ferry to the island, and instead the trust had a team of four assistant rangers.

The red sandstone island and its 100ft cliffs are home to one of Europe’s biggest colonies of guillemots, as well as red grouse, puffin, Arctic skua, Arctic tern, eider duck and various gulls.

In the 19th century, Handa was recorded as having a population of around 65 people. The islanders had a parliament, similar to that of St Kilda, which met daily, and a female-centric society where the oldest widow on the island was considered its ‘Queen.’


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But despite a healthy diet of oats, fish and seabirds, the remaining islanders decided to abandon their homes for the mainland in 1848 as a result of the potato famine.

For further information about the role you shouldemail [email protected]

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