When it comes to building a home there’s often an essential checklist filled with important dates such as when the foundations are to go in or when the plumber is due on site.
Jayne and Peter Young had all of the above plus an unusual extra – the date the helicopter was due to “drop off” their new home.
For theirs is a special home, a modern four-bedroom architect-designed home on a remote Highland peninsula that is totally off-grid.
The only way you can reach the house is by foot – which will take you about an hour – or by catching a ferry from Badluarach Jetty. Neither makes life particularly easy when you are building a new home in a beautiful-but-remote part of Scotland.
So, not surprisingly, creating Number Eight Rhireavoch, a large detached larch-clad house on the Scoraig peninsula in Wester Ross, wasn’t without its challenges.
The couple, who have three grown-up children, are originally from Hertfordshire. Jayne takes up the story.
“We moved to the area in 2000, but the house we moved into sadly burned down,” she said .
“We were insured, so the insurance company paid for most of the building of this new house, which was designed by an architect with some input from us.
“The insurance company decided the most cost effective way to get the materials for the new house to the peninsula was by helicopter.
“It was quite a sight to see as they had a helicopter ferrying materials in, including ready-mixed cement for the foundations, for two days.
“Contractors Macleod and Mitchell, from Poolewe, put the frame up, while my husband, Peter, an electrician, also did a lot of the work. From start to finish, it took about 11 months to complete.”
The house, which sits on the south-facing side of the Scoraig peninsula and has breathtaking sea and mountain views, is surrounded by four and a half acres of land. Accommodation includes a utility porch, open plan living area, a dining kitchen, hall, toilet, master bedroom, three double bedrooms and a family bathroom.
Tastefully decorated and with varnished wooden floors throughout, it’s not only ready to welcome the next family in, but well set up for off-grid living.
“The house has its own windmill and lots of solar panels which generate electricity,” said Jayne.
“There are batteries to store the electricity and a back-up generator, but that is rarely needed. In effect, our electricity is free, but it cost us about £10,000 to set up the systems.”
The house has oil-fired central heating, a septic tank and its own water supply sourced from a spring.
Features of note in the house include the large, bright, fully fitted dining kitchen which has an LPG cooker, electric extractor hood, fridge, freezer, microwave, two-bowl sink and fitted shelves, and large windows offering fine views.
The spacious lounge is on open plan to the dining kitchen and has french doors opening out to the decked area and garden, while the generously sized hall is fitted with bookshelves.
The master bedroom is particularly large and bright and comes with a vanity unit, eaves storage and two safes.
There is potential (subject to the required local authority consents) for part of the room to be converted in to an en suite bathroom or shower room.
Outside there’s a large decked area – a fine space to sit and enjoy the garden and wonderful views.
Shelter is provided by the tress on either side, and while it’s currently a little overgrown, it has been very productive in the past.
There’s also a sheltered orchard and a number of outbuildings.
“One of the reasons we moved to the area was so that we could live an off-grid lifestyle, grow our own food and keep animals such as chickens and goats.
“We really enjoyed doing this, particularly as we fostered children, and they loved having a lot of space to run about.”
Rhireavoch has now been de-crofted and after creating lots of happy memories here, the family have decided the time is right to sell their special home on the Scoraig peninsula, which stretches out towards the Summer Isles between Little Loch Broom and Loch Broom, south-west of Ullapool.
With fewer than 100 residents, it’s a tight-knit community which works together and where the emphasis is on crofting self-sufficiency and excellent renewable energy capabilities.
“It has a good community feel with lots going on, but if you’d rather keep yourself to yourself, people will respect that, too,” said Jayne.
The house is on the market at offers over £180,000 and being marketed by Anderson, Shaw and Gilbert in Inverness. Contact: 01463 253911