By Ben Wheeler
THIS STUNNING eco-friendly holiday home in the Scottish Highlands that has been constructed using a staggering 500 bales of straw could be host to your very own sustainable holiday for as little as £22 per night, per person.
The Jill Strawbale House offers holidaymakers the chance to enjoy a unique and energy efficient getaway in the tranquil and remote location of Strontian, near Fort William.
The property has become available for rentals at a time when responsible tourism is in high demand, with ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) predicting environmentally friendly getaways to be the number one holiday trend for 2018.
Images show the modern yet simplistic interior which includes two ground floor bedrooms and a vast, open plan living area upstairs.
Through the huge floor-to-ceiling sliding glass windows in the living area, additional photos show the exceptional exterior of the house where guests can enjoy spectacular views across Loch Sunart and the Morvern Hills from the comfort of the property’s hot tub which can be accessed via a spiral staircase to the lower deck.
Jill Strawbale House is the brainchild of husband and wife, Robert and Justine Dunn who have now lived and worked in the area for 15 years after working in Africa and the Caribbean as tropical foresters.
“Despite having no experience of the building industry, Justine and I were keen to create the holiday home ourselves. By picking a cruck frame design that was easy to erect, we have been able to do most of the work with help from friends and the rest of the family too,” said Robert.
“In the past, we have worked in the tropics and when we came back to the west coast of Scotland we decided to put down roots in the village of Strontian.
“We have always been passionate about the environment and knew the holiday home had to be eco-friendly and energy efficient.
“Many people do not realise that straw is one of the cheapest and most sustainable forms of insulation. Covered inside and out with lime it also makes the house breathable, allowing moisture in the air to move from inside the house to the outside. This helps to cut energy bills, boost home comfort and promote healthy indoor air.”
The aim of the property is to help reduce the impact of a holiday on the environment and offer greater self-efficiency, it sources most of its power from two micro hydro generators and exports a whopping five times more power than it imports.
Double and triple glazed windows along with 300mm of straw insulated walls and floors ensure the inside of the property never gets too cold, whilst underfloor heating and hot water is produced by a Ground Source Heat Pump which extracts heat from the ground to warm the home.
Solar panels on the roof of an outbuilding provide an extra energy source in addition to the generators and if neither of these are producing electricity Robert and Justine import it from Good Energy, a company which only supplies electricity from renewable sources.
There’s plenty to do in the surrounding including walks through the historic Ariundle oak woods or why not go and explore the old lead mines that are nearby.
The rest of the peninsula also has much to offer such as a number of ‘Corbett’ mountains or Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and Distillery, which sit at the most westerly tip of the British Isles.
Guests may also wish to visit Sanna Bay, renowned for its impressive white sand dunes and abundance of wildlife.
If you are feeling more adventurous then why not take a day-trip to Ben Nevis for a spot of skiing or treat the Harry Potter fan in your group to a trip on the Jacobite Express steam train that runs between Fort William and Mallaig.
Mark Whitehouse of cottages.com said; “Sustainability continues to be high on the agenda, so we are delighted to have signed this extraordinary property that uses straw bales as its main form of insulation.
“The property is truly unique not only in the fact that it is eco-friendly and green, but also because it is a grand space encompassing and amazing design.”
For more information see the property on the cottages.com website