The Bothie opens its doors

A five-year vision to provide young people in Kintore with a place to meet became a reality today (Saturday, December 7, 2013) with the opening of “the Bothie” youth café.

Bothie opening

The youth cafe project has been driven by Action Kintore, a charity set up to provide facilities for young people in the town. With support of many local organisations including upstream oil and gas company Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd, construction work on the £140,000 project began in June this year and the straw bale building has now been officially opened.

The Bothie, Kintore
© Paul Douglas

Kenny Thomson, chairman of Action Kintore, is delighted to see the project reaching completion:

“This has been a substantial undertaking for Action Kintore, which is composed largely of volunteers from the community who have been dedicated to providing the young people of Kintore with a place where they can meet.

“But, thanks to the support and encouragement of hard-working volunteers, the young people themselves, our local councillors and Aberdeenshire Council, we kept going. As a result it was a very special moment for many people when we declared the Bothie open.

“In particular we are very grateful to upstream oil and gas company Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd, who provided £20,000 to support the construction project and to fund the appointment of a youth worker. We have also just had a boost from another oil company TAQA who have also contributed to the project.

The Bothie plaque

“Other substantial donations included Aberdeen Students Charities Campaign. We’ve also had a lot of support from Aberdeenshire Council who provided the former library site at a nominal rent.”

The new building is constructed with walls made of straw bales covered by a lime wash render finish. This unusual construction method appealed to Action Kintore because of its insulation qualities.

“The high levels of heat insulation should help to keep the running costs of the Bothie very low,” Kenny Thomson points out. “Straw bales are also very good at cutting noise, which is important with a location in the heart of a residential

Construction of the Bothie was undertaken by Aberdeenshire company Bancon Construction. It was the first time they had undertaken a project using straw bales construction. David Davidson, the company’s manager for the project, explains their enthusiasm for the project:

“Straw bale construction has impeccable green credentials, which is one of the reasons that Bancon Construction were keen to take on this project. We researched the techniques thoroughly and discovered that straw bales were first used for construction on the plains of Nebraska more than a hundred years ago.

The Bothie straw bale construction
Constructing the Bothie with straw bale walls. © Paul Douglas

“The bales were originally intended as temporary and were laid in a ‘Lego’ building block fashion, with the bales being load bearing. The Kintore project uses a framed system, with the frame carrying the building loads.

“We found a lot of enthusiasm from our suppliers and sub-contractors in tackling this project and, based on this experience, we would be keen to take on similar projects in the future.”

Grateful thanks to Paul Douglas for the use of his exterior and construction photographs above.
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