Secondly, planning permission may be granted but it may be granted too late. I must have something considerably more comfortable and weatherproof than the Summer Palace before winter; neither my mental nor my physical health would stand up to a winter spent literally out of doors. So if I haven't got planning permission by mid-July I have to go to plan B anyway.
Thirdly, planning permission may be granted but I may not be able to afford to build to the quality required. This is complicated. In theory one third of what I invested in the farm is loan, to be repaid. It was never likely that it would all be repaid, but I was hoping that half of it would be. This now looks unlikely. If I had got half back, I would have £16,000 to pay for materials for my house, which may sound ludicrously little but actually as self-builders of houses with planning permission can reclaim VAT it's effectively £20,000 and it is - just, barely - enough. But unless I get some of the loan back I have £6,000, and that just isn't.
Of course I could get a mortgage - I do own the croft - but I'd have to get a steady job to repay it, and I really don't want to do that.
So there has to be a plan B, and plan B is about counting assets.
I have several hundred harvestable sitka trees. I have a growing barley crop, and shall have straw by autumn. There is also wool, but asking around I find that unless you treat wool with some fairly nasty insecticide it doesn't make good household insulation.
However, a log cabin is possible using materials I don't have to pay for. If I build a roundwood pole structure with straw bale walls, I need to pay for the render on the walls... at least, in theory I could make it from raw materials, but that's too complex and I don't have time. But the render is affordable. Unless I thatch the roof - which takes skill I don't have, and longer, better quality straw than I'm likely to get - roof insulation also needs to be paid for. In any case, windows, hardware, electrical installation and drainage need to be paid for. It may be, for the first winter, I have to do without electricity all together. It may be, for the first winter, that I have to do without glass.
But a habitable house for £6,000? Yes, I think it can be done.