Working Holidays terms and conditions

Our agreement with you

We are the National Trust for Scotland, a charity registered in Scotland (registered number SC007410) and our principal office is at Hermiston Quay, 5 Cultins Road, Edinburgh EH11 4DF. Our agreement with you sets out what you are legally entitled to expect from us when you join us for a Thistle Camp or Trailblazer. The agreement is set out in these terms and conditions and the booking confirmation.

Age limits

We run two types of working holiday – Thistle Camps and Trailblazers. If you are aged 18 or over you can book onto a Thistle Camp. There is no upper age limit on Thistle Camps as long as you can carry out the tasks at hand. Trailblazers are run especially for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Application process

The National Trust for Scotland operates an application process for our working holidays, where you can apply for one or many camps. We will respond with an offer of a place on your requested camp(s) if we can make a place work. We operate in this fashion due to requirements to be flexible in gender balance with some accommodation and, in some cases, to ensure camps have sufficient participants with basic skills for the work being undertaken.

Dietary requirements

If you have any dietary requirements, including intolerances and allergies, you must notify us in advance of booking. We can accommodate most requests, and your project leader may contact you before your project to ensure they have a full understanding of your needs.

Medical conditions

You must advise us if you have any medical conditions or suffer from a mental or physical disability which may affect your ability to carry out your participation on the project(s) you requested. These details will be held in confidence and we may contact you to discuss them to ensure we offer you the best support.

Consecutive projects

You can book onto as many projects as you like but the maximum number you can attend consecutively, with a gap of a day or less, is two. Our projects can be strenuous, and as such we have a duty of care to ensure that participants are not fatigued, and thus a potential danger to themselves or others.

Late bookings

We are normally able to accept bookings until the day before a project departs. If booking at short notice, the full camp payment must be paid in advance of departure.


We expect participants to commit to the duration of the project at the time of booking and to contribute to the work effort whilst on their project. Should you not be able to attend a project in its entirety, you should contact us so that we can provide guidance. If, after you have confirmed your booking, you are unable to commit to the duration of the project then this may lead to cancellation of your booking.


Your payment is a contribution to the running costs of the project.

You can pay by logging into your account at, calling us on 0131 458 0370 or sending a cheque made payable to the National Trust for Scotland, to Thistle Camps, National Trust for Scotland, Hermiston Quay, 5 Cultins Road, Edinburgh EH11 4DF.

You are requested to make full payment within 28 days of issue of the offer of a place. If there are less than 28 days to go until your camp commences when you are offered a place, the full amount is payable before the project begins. If payment is not received within this period, we reserve the right to cancel our offer of a place and offer the opportunity to someone else.

The price is accurate at the date of publication but we reserve the right to change our advertised prices from time to time. The price quoted in the offer of a place is guaranteed.


Your project is confirmed once we have received payment. We will email you a confirmation when this has been received. If any of the details on the confirmation are not correct please tell us immediately. If there is an obvious error on the confirmation we reserve the right to correct it as we become aware of it. If any of these changes are not acceptable then you will be entitled to a full refund.

We accept your booking based on the personal details or any other information supplied by you. You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of that data.

Joining instructions

You will be sent joining information at least 4 weeks prior to your project, unless your project is imminent in which case it will be sent to you as soon as possible.

Financial protection

We hold all customers’ monies in a separate trust account until such times as the project is complete.

Cancellations and changes in booking

If you change your booking

You must ensure that all names and details are correctly entered at the time of booking. You must contact us straight away on receipt of your confirmation if there is something that you need to correct.

Transfer to another individual

You may transfer your booking to another person provided that (i) you give us at least 7 days’ notice in writing; (ii) the new participant accepts the transfer and these terms; and (iii) that person complies with the terms of the existing booking. We will charge an amendment fee of £15 for each change that is made.

Transfer to another project

If you wish to transfer your booking from one camp to another, please inform us as soon as possible and no later than 28 days before the start date of either camp. There is a £15 administration charge plus any difference in camp payment for each transfer. There is no guarantee that we will be able to transfer your booking, and any transfer will be subject to availability and the specific terms of the camp.

If you cancel your booking

If you need to cancel your booking please contact us as soon as possible. To cover the cost of processing your cancellation and to compensate us for the risk that we may not be able to fill your place, we will make a cancellation charge on the scale shown below. You are responsible for paying this charge and permit us to deduct it from any refund due. The charges are based on how many days before the start date we receive your cancellation notice and are a percentage of the total cost of your booking.

Swipe to view table

70 days or more£20 administration fee
69–63 days30%
62–49 days50%
48–29 days70%
28–15 days 90%
14–0 days 100%

If we change your booking

Whilst we cannot guarantee that things will not change, the details on our website are thoroughly researched. On rare occasions, we may need to make changes to bookings, for example when accommodation or tasks alter from our original description. We will notify you of these in advance. If the changes are significant, you may either:

  • Accept the new arrangement; or
  • Accept a replacement project; or
  • Cancel and receive a full refund.

If we cancel your booking

We aim to run your project as booked.

We may cancel the project if there are not enough people booked and we have notified you of the minimum number required. In these circumstances, we will let you know at least one week before departure.

Regrettably, there may be instances where we need to make a last minute cancellation due to circumstances beyond our reasonable control. We will make every effort to do so only where absolutely necessary.

In such cases, we will endeavour to offer you an alternative project or, if this is not acceptable to you, a full refund.

Compensation for cancellation or significant changes

If we cancel your booking or make a significant change to it then, in addition to your rights set out above, we will pay compensation to you on the following scale. The scale is based on how many days before your project start date we tell you. This standard payment will not affect your statutory or other legal rights. We also advise that you put in place an appropriate policy of travel insurance to cover costs of cancellation.

Swipe to view table

84 days or more0
83–29 days£5
28–15 days £10
14–8 days £15
7–0 days £20


If you have a problem with your booking or project, notify us as soon as possible so we can try to rectify the situation. If on project, inform your Project Leader or a member of our staff so they can assist you. If you feel this is inappropriate or the situation remains unresolved, please contact the Working Holidays Team on 0131 458 0370 or We will investigate the grievance and reply at the earliest opportunity.

Project details

The project, destination, itinerary, dates and accommodation are set out in the booking confirmation. They will be materially similar to the description on our website. However, we reserve the right to make minor changes if necessary.

Our responsibility for your holiday

We will arrange for you to receive the travel, accommodation and project that you choose and we confirm. We have taken all reasonable care to make sure that all of these things are provided in a safe and reasonable way. However, some things are beyond our reasonable control and we will not be liable for any failure which arises from a matter beyond our reasonable control.


As part of your camp payment, we will provide transport from the pick-up at the start of your project and to the drop-off point at the end of your project as outlined in your project description. We use a variety of means of transport which may include minibuses and ferries. Participants wishing to make their own way to a project do so at their own expense.


We use a variety of different accommodation types, ranging from camping to commercial holiday homes, depending on what is available in the vicinity of the properties we are working at – details can be found in project descriptions.

The likelihood is you will have to share a room with at least one other participant during your working holiday. In bunkhouses, bedrooms are normally dormitories with bunk beds. In holiday accommodation there is generally a mixture of smaller rooms with single, twin and double beds. We try to ensure rooms are single-sex, and double beds are taken by couples or individuals. If you are booking on to a project with a friend or partner and would like to share a room, please tell us in advance and we will try to accommodate your request. Please note that we are unable to guarantee requests for single occupancy rooms.

Extra activities – days off and evenings

On most Thistle Camps there is a day off from conservation work mid-project when you will have the opportunity to explore the local area further. We are not responsible for these activities and we recommend you have appropriate insurance in place to cover these activities. Where there is no day off, this will be highlighted in the project description.

All Trailblazers will spend their day off taking part in adventure activities such as gorge walking or sea kayaking. The cost of these is included in the cost of the project and we are responsible for the provision of these activities.


As part of your payment we provide all of the ingredients for three meals a day, from the evening meal on the first night of the project to breakfast on the final morning. The only exception to this is that the group will eat an evening meal at a local, reasonably priced restaurant once during the project and individuals must cover the cost of this meal themselves.

Meals are generally prepared in a social, communal fashion with participants expected to aid in preparation, cooking and cleaning up of those meals. This helps us greatly in keeping project costs to a minimum and forms an important social element on each project. Additionally, tea, coffee and snacks will be available for breaks.

Overseas participants

Unlike some other organised holidays, UK Visas and Immigration classifies our working holiday projects in the same band as paid work, as there is an element of ‘volunteer’ work involved with our projects. As such, those travelling to the UK without an EU or Swiss Passport will need to ensure that they have the appropriate approval in place from the UK Immigration authorities. It is the responsibility of all overseas participants to ensure that they have the appropriate visa.

Special assistance

We encourage applicants to select projects which are suitable for their own level of fitness and ability. If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular project is suitable for you, you should check with a member of the Working Holidays Team.

Health and safety

Potential participants are advised to choose a project appropriate to their level of fitness. Certain locations are remote or subject to harsh conditions, and applicants should be realistic when choosing where to go. All participants should also be aware that some camps require a long walk to the work site before work starts, sometimes over mountainous terrain in poor weather conditions.

In accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the National Trust for Scotland is responsible for providing and maintaining a working environment throughout each camp’s duration which is, so far as is reasonably practical, safe and without risk to health. On your camp you will be instructed on how to use all tools and equipment safely before you start work, with safety equipment being provided. Participants must be responsible at all times and ensure that no action is taken to put themselves, other participants, leaders, members of staff or the public at risk. Further information is detailed in the Health and Safety Guidelines, which will be sent with your joining instructions.

We reserve the right to adjust or reduce a participant’s activities in the event that they do not demonstrate the ability to carry out any activities safely. When you join a working holiday, we expect you to contribute to both the work and social dynamics of a project and to act in a responsible manner. We therefore also reserve the right to demand that a participant leaves a project if their behaviour is affecting the safety or welfare of the camp, any individuals or members of the public.

Due to the remote nature of some of our projects, some restrictions on applications will be applicable (eg having been on a camp with us before) and these are identified in the project description.

We recommend that all participants ensure they have an up-to-date anti-tetanus injection.

Insurance and personal injury

Trust Insurance

If you suffer injury, illness or death directly as a result of our negligence we may make a payment to you. We will not make a payment if your injury, illness or death was caused by an event or circumstance which the person who caused it could not have predicted or avoided even if they had taken all necessary and due care. We will not make any payment if your illness, injury or death was your own fault.

If you suffer any injury or illness during the project you must tell us as soon as possible and complete an accident or incident report form while you are on project.

Personal Travel Insurance

It is a condition of your booking that you must ensure you have suitable insurance to cover:

  • Cancellations including travel to/from the pick-up point (this is particularly true for those attending island camps as there is always the likelihood that ferry travel may be disrupted or cancelled due to bad weather at any time of year)
  • Illness and injury
  • Your personal possessions against accidental loss or damage. We recommend you do not bring items of high value or large amounts of spending money.
  • Your free time activities

Data protection

We will communicate with you about your booking for the purposes of processing your booking and supporting you on the working holiday. Our legal grounds in respect of this processing is this contract. We may ask you for feedback on your experiences. When we do this our legal grounds are our legitimate interests in that we consider it necessary to process your personal data for these purposes and you would reasonably expect us to do so. We may also ask if you would like to hear from us about future opportunities to volunteer with us. We will only send this information if you provide your consent and you have the right to opt out of these communications at any time. For further information about how we handle your personal data and your rights under data protection law, please see our Privacy Policy.


Please note that we may take photographs/videos of participants for promotional purposes. These images may be used in Trust publications, presentations/talks, in press releases, or published online on our website or on our social media pages. If you do not want us to take photographs/videos, please let the activity leader know in advance of your session. If we plan to take photos/videos, we will also let you know on the day so that anyone who prefers not to be included can let us know.


Participants’ pets (other than assistance animals) are not permitted on projects, either at the accommodation or on the worksite.

Governing law

This contract is governed by the law of Scotland. If you are resident in the UK you may raise a court action in your local jurisdiction. If you are resident abroad then you must raise a court action in Scotland.

Working Holidays Team contact details

Contact us at Working Holidays, National Trust for Scotland, Hermiston Quay, 5 Cultins Road, Edinburgh EH11 4DF.

Telephone: 0131 458 0370