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We are Jim and Saddhavati. 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 six acre (2.4 hectare) former croft (a "croft" is a traditional small Highland farmstead), 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 - a "passive solar" design based around a post and beam timber frame, with "breathing" external walls clad with untreated larch and a living green roof, 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 is made from recycled wood. The energy systems include a wood-fired, Finnish-style masonry heater, underfloor heating, solar panels and a thermal store.
Help with Eco project
We live in a beautiful rural area with lovely woodland walks. Volunteers will have an opportunity to learn and/or practise natural building or gardening skills. We also try to share our knowledge of the culture, history and traditions of the Scottish Highlands.
Ideally we are looking for volunteers with some previous building experience. We would particularly welcome anyone with experience of and/or skills in clay and lime plastering, stonework, carpentry or wood machining. We would also consider volunteers with limited experience who wish to learn more about natural building. We also need help with other routine tasks such as gardening, grass-cutting, chopping firewood, and generally helping around the house etc.
Our volunteer accommodation is in a building separate from the main house, with its own toilet/shower room and a small kitchen. There is Wi-Fi access. We have a large workshop building, fully-equipped with a wide range of woodworking machinery.
We are a vegetarian, non-smoking household. Please do not apply for a placement if you smoke.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
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