A unique new property aimed at environmentally-conscious travellers has been unveiled in the Scottish Highlands that sees guests staying in a stunning cottage that is as ecological as it is cosy.
Called the Jill Strawbale House, the cottage has been constructed using over 500 bales of straw and sits in a stunning, elevated position in Strontian near Fort William. The eco-friendly holiday home uses straw bales as its main form of insulation and exports five times more power than it imports, making it ideal for those looking for a greener break.
The property gets most of its power from two micro hydro generators, and owners Robert and Justine Dunn encourage guests to recycle and use public transport wherever possible throughout their stay, as well providing eco-friendly cleaning solutions. With a background in tropical forest management, the couple decided to build an efficient holiday home to generate income for their retirement over 15 years ago when they bought and renovated an old vicarage with an acre of land.
Copying a design from Cumbrian-based engineer, Brian Waite, the couple worked with a local architect to help create the property. As well as featuring floor-to-ceiling windows offering spectacular views over Loch Sunart and Morvern Hills, the house has sliding glass doors leading onto a balcony. A spiral staircase gives access to the large lower deck with hot tub, dining and seating areas and a chimenea. There is also a telescope to spot local wildlife and to stargaze. In the surrounding area there is the historic Ariundle Oakwoods, while the Corbett Mountains, Loch Sunart, Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and Sanna Bay are also located close by.
“Many people do not realise that straw is one 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 the inside of the house to the outside. This helps to cut energy bills, boost home comfort and promote healthy indoor air,” said owner Robert Dunn. Prices start at £813 ($1151) in the low season for seven nights self-catered accommodation and Sleeps five people in two bedrooms.
The Jill Strawbale House is available to book through Cottages.com.