Roos van der Valk
Skibo Castle, The Highlands of Scotland
“I learned the five star approaches of hospitality at Skibo Castle in Scotland and I met many people from all over the world. I look back at a time that will always be remembered and embraced as an amazing time of my life. I chose not to go for the ordinary and will never regret it."
"Three months ago, with just a suitcase and an awful lot of questions about what it was going to be like, I was standing on the deck of the ferry considering what I was about to do. It was the beginning of my Practical Placement adventure. As I slowly saw mainland disappearing into just a horizontal stripe, wifi signal lost and faced the open sea, I realised that it was going to happen, here and now, no way back.
The ferry would bring me and my partner in crime, colleague to be, to Newcastle. From there we would drive to the place where we would stay the nineteen following weeks: the Highlands of Scotland.
What I knew about Scotland was about as much as Google told me about the culture: bagpipes, haggis, whisky and the general accepted type of skirts for men (traditional tartan kilt).
Arriving at Skibo Castle, it soon became clear that is was beyond my expectations. It is even better than the fairy tales read by my parents when I was young or what I have seen in Harry Potter movies.
The castle boasts several dining rooms for private dining or hosted dinner accompanied by a host. The other venue where guests can enjoy lunch is the golf house. The house is surrounded by the golf course, a stunning view over the mountains and lake with the beautiful colours of autumn.
Each Saturday there is a traditional so called “ceilidh”, which involves Gaelic folk music and the typical Scottish dancing under guidance of a band. The estate disposes several family lodges for the guests to stay in besides the castle rooms.
My colleagues are local as well as from all over the world. Because most of them are far from home, you become very close and spend a lot of time together at work and in your free time.
In the Highlands, where we are staying, is not much around. Therefore, you really depend on each other to make the best of it. This can result in dinners, a drink in our staff accommodation or a trip to one of the cities further away on days off.
Overall, it has been a great experience. I had the chance to experience a different way of proving service in an exclusive membership only club like Skibo. I learned the five star approaches of hospitality and I met many people from all over the world. I look back at a time that will always be remembered and embraced as an amazing time of my life. I chose not to go for the ordinary and will never regret it."