Thanks for the response, certainly actual experience is more valuable than saying 'yes, I believe it works'
I know that paint can work well for a few years, but after that it can make matters worse by holding the water against the wood and not letting it evaporate. Even if it is good and fresh on the outside, if there is any separation between paint and wood (even a microscopic one) than it makes things worse rather than protecting.
With this in mind, I shall be sure and whitewash or at least lime wash my wood.
One question, was the whitewashing interior and exterior?