Like many others, for years we have dreamt about selling up and 'doing something' - sell all our world goods and sail around the world; find the perfect plot somewhere special, maybe the Westfjords in Iceland or a remote spot in Norway; pack the camper and head off into the wilds ............ but these were just pipe dreams we could do it someday but when....who knows.
We have friends who have done this, packed their kids into a boat and sail off for a year or two, others just jump onto the ferry with their van and head off through Europe but we have always had other priorities.
Then something snapped in me, I suddenly didn't want to head into work anymore, finish those niggly jobs on the house or negotiate that rutted track down to the cottage.
Maybe working from home during this pandemic has made the reason I enjoyed my job irrelevant, maybe it was something else, but one day heading home from my once a week call into my deserted office, I made up my mind - we would put the house on the market, not worry about the jobs we should do before selling and see what happens.
A week later we accepted an offer above our asking price.
Then the reality struck - now what?
In the current climate of virus and politics what was our best course of action. We weighed up pros & cons of various ideas - a move to Iceland was our favoured idea but jobs there are now few and far between, being welcome as a traveler around this world at the moment seemed unlikely and also irresponsible, so we decided to put all our profit from the sale into building a home with the plan to be mortgage free and the style of build designed to keep it's running costs to a minimum.
Then started the serious search for a plot. First where? well we knew what we didn't want - we did not want to stay in England, we did not want a plot with detailed planning permission and we did not want to be on a housing estate or in a busy location. We wanted wilds, nature, dramatic scenery and the change to just be us. Therefore if we wanted to stay in the mainland UK that left us Scotland or Wales. Being Welsh I should have felt the pull to head back to my home country, but that just wasn't there - however, once we started to look seriously at Scotland we knew this was where we wanted to be.
Finding a plot was not an easy task we set a budget of a third of our total spend to narrow down our choice but every site seemed to ask us to compromise on something - was it too remote or too close to town, was it too far to bring the utilities at a reasonable price, no wifi, etc etc. I kept being swayed by plots on the outer islands of Orkney, suggesting we became crofters on North Ronaldsay or why not renovate a property at Kettletoft on Sanday? all of these suggestions were met with a stony stare and a firm no. Andrew's favourite saying is 'it's easier to give birth than raise the dead' and we have spent enough time over the last 20 years keeping our 17th century cottage warm and dry. This time we would build a sunny modern house, that's easy to care for with very low maintenance, leaving us time to do what we want.
Weeks went by, we both scanned and scanned all the suggested plot sales sites, we read articles on 'how to find you ideal plot' we looked on gumtree, local highland papers etc etc and then one early Saturday morning, sat in bed drinking my morning cuppa, I looked again at a plot we had seen early on in our search and had ruled out. Suddenly it seemed perfect, perhaps we had honed our plot searching skills and now knew what we wanted etc etc but this time we both knew this was the one!
The rest of that weekend we google earthed the bejeezus out of the site and surrounding area and decided we would put an offer in on Monday and just go for it.......There then began much to-ing and fro-ing with the estate agents (that's another story for a different day) but eventually they put our offer to the owners who accepted straight away and we had finally got ourselves a plot!
Remember this was all last October, we were in lockdown, there was no way we were going to travel from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands to look at this plot, but we both felt so strongly that this was the one. Over that Sunday lunch with some bottles of wine, we discussed how would we feel if we waited for lockdown to end and someone else got there first etc etc. Our plan was decided we would go ahead, build the best style of house for the plot and move on if it wasn't quite right for us in the end.
The saga will continue .............