Living in such a stunning part of Scotland we are very aware of our impact upon the area in which we live. We want to ensure that we preserve as much as possible of both the environment and the cultural heritage to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy them as much as we, and our guests, do.
environmental policy and aims - Our policy is to provide a high quality service to our guests whilst being committed to working in a sustainable way and to reducing our impact upon our environment. We have identified the following aims in order to achieve this:
we are reducing our use of energy, water and other resources;
we are seeking to reduce pollution, emissions and waste;
we try to source our goods and supplies locally in order to minimise travel miles and to support other local businesses; and
we are minimising our risks associated with environmental issues.
what we are doing - energy use - Over the past 20 years we have reduced our overall energy consumption by 40% and now almost 60% of our remaining use is from sustainable sources. We have achieved this by improving the thermal efficiency of the house and by installing micro generation schemes. To date we have installed solar thermal panels for hot water, solar photo voltaic panels for electricity and a ground source heat pump to provide our heating and hot water top-up. Our lighting has been changed to LED or other low-wattage bulbs and all of our domestic appliances have a rating of 'A' or better.
recycling - Over the past 20 years we have reduced our waste to landfill by 60%. We re-use or recycle all the materials that we can - currently newspaper, card, glass, plastics, printer cartridges and textiles - and we compost the majority of our kitchen waste.
purchasing - our kitchen garden supplies us and our guests with vegetables, herbs and fruit, we make our own jams, chutneys, bread, biscuits and cakes. We source a large portion of our purchased food/ welcome baskets from local suppliers; further information is on our food page. Our bathroom products are made in Lochaber by the Highland Soap Company from organic ingredients and they are free from artificial foaming ingredients and Paraben preservatives. We use environmentally friendly cleaning products where practicable, e.g. Ecover products and micro fibre e-cloths. When we purchase new linen, towels or kitchen items we donate the items being replaced to the Brora Thrift shop.
wildlife - We aim to garden organically, use companion planting and we've planted our borders with the aim of attracting birds and insects. There's a woodland area which is left unstrimmed and with wood debris to provide a habitat for insects and small mammals. We keep a wildlife notebook in the sitting room to record sightings of wildlife and flora by our guests and ourselves. Recent sightings have included ospreys, peregrine falcons, golden eagles, red deer (on our lawn at night), puffins (at Duncansby), otters, seals, dolphins and orcas.
charities - We are members of, and support, the John Muir Trust, which works to protect wild places, and of the National Trust for Scotland. Locally we volunteer for the Helmsdale Woodlanders, the Helmsdale Community Council, the John o'Groats Trail and Timespan.