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Sutherland
All Year:
Area (ha): 2.4
Persons: up to 6
Category: Other
Host ID: 2798
Country: Scotland

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Last Updated: September 24, 2017

A "Natural" Building Project in the Scottish Highlands.

Hi HelpXers,

We live in a beautiful wooded glen (valley) near a village called Spinningdale about 50 miles (80 km.) north of Inverness in the northern Scottish Highlands, where we have a 6 acre (2.4 hectare) former croft (a "croft" is a traditional small Highland farmstead).

We are surrounded by 1700 acres (700 hectares) of stunning natural woodland belonging to a conservation body called The Woodland Trust. We help look after the woods as Voluntary Wardens.

Jim is an environmental scientist with a particular interest in ecological design and sustainable building using natural materials.

Saddhavati is an artist and teacher whose other interests include meditation and yoga.

We are nearing completion of our "natural" home. It is a "passive solar" design based around a traditional post and beam timber frame with "breathing" external walls clad with untreated larch and a living green roof. The building is insulated throughout with hemp fibre and sheep's wool.

The internal walls are built from unfired clay bricks rendered with clay and lime plaster. The ground floor is a limecrete slab overlaid with stone and terracotta floor tiles. Upstairs the flooring will be made from recycled wood. The energy systems include a wood-fired, Finnish-style masonry heater, underfloor heating, solar panels and a thermal store. You can see photos on our website by clicking on the link above.

Jim designed the house himself and we have been building it (with help) for the past ten years!

We are looking for help to complete the remaining tasks which include:

making and fitting doors and fitting window and door trims;
machining and laying floorboards using recycled timber;
building a timber-frame conservatory.

We would particularly welcome volunteers with some previous experience in carpentry and/or wood machining, but any willing volunteers wanting to learn about natural building and prepared to work hard would be welcome.

We have a large workshop building, fully-equipped with a wide range of woodworking machinery.

During the summer months we also need help with gardening, grass-cutting, chopping firewood, and generally helping around the house etc.

Volunteer accommodation is in a six bed dormitory with its own shower room and a small kitchen. There is wi-fi access.

We are a vegetarian, non-smoking household. Please do not apply for a placement if you smoke.

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