Site visit to Girl Guides Cottage, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland

On Wednesday the 20th of October the energy pathfinder team went to visit to Guides Cottage on Kirkwall, Orkney islands. We received a warm welcome on arrival from Katrina Black a member of the Orkney Guides who gave us a tour and some background information on the cottage. The cottage is used for camping and day trips. Katrina told us how the girls love their time here especially the large area for outdoor cooking with the cottage having beautiful views over the Scapa Flow.

The trust has contacted the technical research team in HES looking for advice on issue with dampness that they were experiencing on the gable end of the building. The cottage is located in an exposed location with very little protection from the weather and preserving and protecting the traditional fabric of this building is important to the Trust. Kenneth Easson from HES remarked how “the Guides Cottage represents an example of what can happen when inappropriate materials are introduced during the improvement and maintenance of traditional buildings in Scotland. These repairs were each, on the face of it, perfectly sensible maintenance solutions to the initial problem of water ingress but by introducing impermeable materials in the process these successive works on the building have each treated the symptoms while exacerbating the underlying problem.”

Kenneth Easson told the trust “The technical research team at Historic Environment Scotland look forward to hopefully supporting the Orkney Guides in a programme of works which will act to reinstate the original means of moisture management by restoring the permeability of the building fabric and introducing appropriate external detailing (at the chimney and skew copes for example) to deal with liquid runoff.”