Foundations finished and scaffolding started

This is a long overdue post. We were away for a week in the middle of June and intended to return to the site soon after. But delays in securing our stonemason means that we’re still in Edinburgh. Not to worry, we will be back down on Sunday, and full steam ahead on Monday when the building of the plinth wall starts.

In the meantime, I thought I’d post some photos from when we were last down at the beginning of June. We (well, Scott and his team) finished off the foundations and construction of the scaffolding started. It will be tented scaffold so that we can work even if it’s raining. The roof wasn’t finished before we left, so no photo of that, but it is apparently all up now and waiting for us!

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Modern conveniences

BT OpenReach engineer hooking up our phone line.

BT OpenReach engineer hooking up our phone line.

When we moved onto site to start the foundations, we had no electricity, internet, or running water. We did have mains water to the site, but it required two people to fill up a 5 litre bottle – one to wrestle the 32mm supply pipe into the bottle, and the other to turn on the toby1, which is the main valve controlling the supply of water to our property. All cooking (and heating of water) had to be done over a fire. This was fun at times, but challenging at others (especially when it starts snowing early in the morning and we had not sorted dry tinder the night before). Charging mobile phones and computers or accessing the internet required a 300m walk to Wiston Lodge (who have kindly allowed us to use theirs). This might not sound like a big deal, but when you need to check something quickly or send an email in the middle of building works, it can be quite problematic. Continue reading


  1. Called a mains stopcock outside of Scotland – don’t ask me where ‘toby’ came from. 

Site support

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At the end of last year we decided to lease a piece of land next to our plot for use during the build. Given the size of our site and the space that will be needed for the house it would have been too cramped to squeeze all the support functions onto our plot. To allow deliveries to the support site, we put a temporary rubble-filled track in for access (at the end of it all, we will remove the rubble and backfill the topsoil that was removed). I had also looked into buying temporary road mats (the plastic or metal sheets put down to protect grass from vehicles or foot traffic for events). These turn out to be expensive, and for the 40+ metres we needed for the track length, it would have been too much of an outlay.

We also realised we would need some secure storage, an area to make tea and warm up food, and a site office. The plan was to get a shipping container for secure storage and a converted container for an office/mess room. Continue reading

Power up

Cross-section of a three-phase electricity cable.

Cross-section of a three-phase electricity cable.

At the end of last year we were down on site supervising the installation of our electricity mains cable. The logistics required careful planning as we had to coordinate between Wiston Lodge, the man digging the trench for us, and ScottishPower. The electricity cable has to run from the distribution point behind the Lodge, across the front of the Lodge and its parking area, along a track, down the side of a ravine, under a burn, and up the other side to our plot. From the perspective of Wiston Lodge, the key things was to schedule this at a time when they weren’t busy with lots of groups and guests given that an open trench was going to cut across the front. Continue reading