The new Clearwater Guest Lodge is a symbol of the ecological progress within The Park since the founders – Peter and Eileen Caddy and their friend Dorothy Maclean – arrived at the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park with their now iconic caravan in tow.
That was on November 17, 1962 and more than half a century later a short stroll from the Original Caravan to Clearwater shows how much accommodation has evolved and changed. An emphasis in the building of this new eco-mobile twin-unit caravan has been on minimising its ecological footprint and using local materials, wherever possible. And, in the spirit of the community’s beginnings, it is classified as a caravan and can be separated and transported, if necessary.
Interestingly, although the Original Caravan was intended only for holidays, it accommodated six people for several years as the cramped home of the trio of co-founders and the three young Caddy boys. Today it is on the same site in the famous Original Garden and in daily use as an office for the team from the Spiritual and Personal Development department.
Clearwater, meanwhile, boasts levels of comfort, convenience and spaciousness unimaginable in those pioneering days: it has four bedrooms, each with en-suite facilities, and caters for up to seven guests.
Now the emphasis is on manifesting a second energy efficient guest lodge of a similar design, with the new eco-mobile potentially enabling us to welcome hundreds of additional guests each year.
So what’s Clearwater like?
As a co-worker who has stayed in a variety of older accommodation in The Park in recent years, it is nothing short of a revelation. It’s a seemingly simple design that incorporates many sophisticated features to maximise insulation from the elements while harnessing solar energy for lighting and heating.
Two solar hot water panels on the roof heat water, while high levels of insulation and natural convection retain heat and allow the building to ‘exhale’ vapours and moisture.
Perhaps more important than the impressive eco credentials are the ways in which Clearwater soothed and welcomed me with its bright and airy interior and thoughtful attention to detail. It is also unique among guest facilities in The Park in featuring an en-suite bathroom and toilet for each bedroom.
I can imagine how much workshop or conference participants will appreciate being able to relax in this quiet and welcoming space.
It is also inspiring to see that Jason Caddy, grandson of the co-founders, has played such an important role through Green Leaf Design & Build, a local initiative specialising in low-impact eco buildings.
Clearwater sets a standard that the second proposed guest lodge will need to rival or perhaps even surpass, and will become a reality through the generosity of committed givers! (Click on the image to the right for more information on how to become a committed giver.)