The Scottish Laird project has now been running for over six months and in that time we have had a lot of fun getting to know our new Lairds and Ladies of Dunans Castle and of Chaol Ghleann. Everyone’s interest and support has been a real boost to this project. Visits and phonecalls from several of our new friends have been a real positive for us and helped us create a community of folk around a shared enjoyment of Dunans Castle and bridge.
This first period has been one of consolidation and partnership. The purchase of so many titles has enabled work to move on with a couple of projects in the grounds which were faltering. Paths down into the ravine, funded by the Scottish Forestry, have with the help of our lairds and ladies, been consolidated and by the end of the autumn will have been extended and improved greatly.
We have also been able to set up an extensive tree-planting operation above and beyond that which is directly funded by each laird, and we hope by the end of the year to have planted significant replacement trees for ones that have been felled or have died off.
Most excitingly we are now able to go ahead with a feasibility pilot on a method for clearing the castle proper. Using wood won on site, and know-how developed through the renovation of Dunans House, we plan to create a mini-project of Grant’s Cottage. This area of around 5m by 3m and three stories high will be the prototype for an innovative low-impact clearing method in which we construct a series of heavy-duty wooden structures within the existing stone structure. These structures will provide safe areas to clear from, platforms to work on, and eventually give us access to the wall tops, enabling very necessary wall-capping. The idea is that when complete these boxes will make the entirety of the castle a safe place to work in and on without the concomitant spend on scaffolding hire or purchase which often goes with the massive building renovation schemes.