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Sutherland
All Year: Apr to Oct + long-term
Area (ha): 2.4
Persons: up to 6
Category: Other
Host ID: 2798
Country: Scotland

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Last Updated: September 16, 2018

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.

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.

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

making 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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