Lots of little stones

Cross section of our foundations.

Cross section of our foundations.

Our structural engineer specified MOT Type 1 Sub-Base aggregate for the foundations. It’s a highly-specified aggregate in terms of particle sizes with well understood compression rates and characteristics. While it may have been possible to get by with aggregate of a more random composition (for instance a 6F2), it was important that we were certain the foundations would work – obviously they can’t be changed later on and have a significant impact on whether the house stays up properly. By using Type 1 Sub-Base, our engineer was certain that the (very heavy) cob walls will be properly supported.

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Finding the plot

When we started looking to move out of the city, I was (and still am) totally in love with the Orkney and Shetland islands. So when I discovered that land was relatively inexpensive up there, I got really excited. Really excited. Dreams of a little eco-house between sea and sky, Coll learning to play the fiddle and a fire roaring away in the long dark winter months…

Then I shared this vision of (very) northern living with J, half way hoping for equal enthusiasm but expecting in reality quite a few questions that would require me to consider the reality of such a venture. My expectations were spot on. There were several questions without easy answers, most of which pointed towards not moving north (at this point! Still holding that dream Mr Warren!)

And to be fair, he had some very good points that were key to thinking about how we wanted to live. That is perhaps one of the very most important questions – How do we want to live? A few key considerations for us follow below:

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