Big Dunans Rising Day: scarves & rugs are here and the Historic Scotland application is in!

By Dixon-Spain

The name of our tartan refers to the castle and to the effect of wearing, or rather purchasing, the tartan – that every time a person dons it, he or she will bring the castle’s restoration a step closer and the building will rise.

Today is a case in point: we received three boxes packed with scarves, stoles, serapes and sashes all in the Dunans Rising tartan. And just as the postman drove off (in a cloud of dust) I hit the send button on our Historic Scotland application for Dunans Bridge (in time for the deadline tomorrow).

Dunans is rising, slowly but surely. Next is the initial enquiry to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and then, well then comes the nail-biting wait.

But for those of you who have been hanging out for a scarf or two, they’ll be on the site next week….

By request: a 11×8.5? flyer for Highland Games in North America

By Dixon-Spain


We have several Lairds and Ladies who throughout the summer attend Highland Gatherings in North America, and wish to spread the word about our marvellous project so we have designed a trifold flyer in American proportions. What we will do is print these out in the US or Canada and get them sent to any Laird or Lady who goes to these events regularly – if that describes you, and you’d like to promote the project to restore the castle, let the ScottishLaird team know by emailing them here.

Meet the Likely Lairds Radcliffe & Maconie from Radio 6 Music

By Dixon-Spain

Over the last twelve months the ScottishLaird office has spent its afternoons listening to the superbly funny Radcliffe & Maconie show on BBC Radio 6 Music. All of us have spent many frantic minutes trying to guess the Teatime Themetime feature – and to my shame I never, ever get it right.

A week or so ago there was a feature on silversmiths, one of whom volunteered to make the guys a crown. That turned out to be too expensive, so we thought we’d send over a Laird package for them.

Today the gentlemen announced their ascension to the ranks of our Lairds and Ladies.

Here’s the iPlayer catchup version of the show. 1 hour 41 mins

It sounds as though they were thoroughly entertained by the idea which is absolutely as it should be, as they have so thoroughly entertained us over the last year.

They are the “Likely Lairds” …

The Joy of Tours at Dunans on the #MayDay #BankHoliday

By Dixon-Spain


Both Colin and myself took tours today. I chose the easier option and took Scot AnSgeulaiche’s Jamie and Claire Tour based on the Outlander series of books by Diana Gabaldon. What a lovely bunch of folks from Canada and the US (pictured above taking photos of the newly annointed Lady Sue on her square foot). We did the full circuit including looking through the trees, over the ravine, at the C-listed Fletcher Mausoleum.

Colin on the other hand, was tasked with showing a 32-man tour around – they all definitely had a ball – and there are a bunch of photos on Facebook taken by Jean Donaldson, our fab in-house photographer. The shot below, just shows how many folks that is. A really good day at Dunans!

It is such a lovely day I decided to take some panoramas of our A-listed Bridge

By Dixon-Spain


… to celebrate the refresh of the Dunans Charitable Trust website at We’ve shed some dead wood, organised the information more clearly and changed the header photo to the main feature shot here. However, the portrait of the bridge (right) is my favourite showing the main arch, adorned as it is, with self-seeded foliage.

Later: having posted the images above I then had a moment waiting for the children to return from school. I used the time to take a couple of different panoramas, the second of which I think shows in a very succinct way the difficulties anyone would face accessing Dunans in anything bigger than a 7.5 tonne truck.


Progress on the Bridge! We’re devising applications to Historic Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund this week to effect its repair and restoration.

By Dixon-Spain


The next stage in our progress to restoring Dunans, notwithstanding the ongoing consultation on our Conservation Plan, is putting in place the funds for the repair of the bridge. Today I have been working on the application to Historic Scotland on behalf of the Dunans Charitable Trust. I’ve now worked through the entire online form (excerpt attached to this post) and I am beginning the process of making the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund while I await feedback. Necessarily this is a detailed process, but the work that Robin Kent and David Narro associates have put in on the Conservation Plan and Indicative Costings make the whole process much less onerous than I thought it would be.

Once we have finalised the application we’ll be publishing the submitted form (less confidential material) on the Dunans Charitable Trust website here.

Before & After: a pasture full of rashes & a pasture full of *cut* rushes

By Dixon-Spain


WARNING: If you have never used or wanted to use a lawn mower, strimmer, brush-cutter or scythe, then this post is probably not for you!

I know, I know, this really is a man and machine-type thing – you know when we get all excited about the latest, greatest gadget – but in this case its the repaired mechanical scythe which we really missed last year when it went out of commission.

There are areas of the grounds at Dunans which have consistently resisted taming, and only by using of our trusty BCS 620 Powerscythe can we ever hope to reduce the rash quota and reinstate grasses, wildflowers and other entirely desirable natives. Even inch thick, gnarly bramble succumbs.

The pictures show a before and after of the lawn on the south side of the castle – well, I call it a lawn, but it has been traversed by several heavy machines and is now more like a mire. I am hoping a weekly cut with the scythe will begin to get things back to a sward-like state.

Georgia Bear & Co. visit Dunans Bridge with @thatpowanwoman and the results are Magical!

By Dixon-Spain


To see more, please visit the Dunans Castle Facebook page.

Over the next fortnight or so expect some absolutely lovely Dunans Rising garments and accessories to launch on the ScottishLaird website, including scarves, rugs and hats. We’re very excited about them, coming as they do, hot on the heels of the launch of the Conservation Plan for Dunans, which is presently available at and via Lulu.

Transactions on are now securer with 128-bit encryption, SSL, HTTPS and a bunch of other acronyms!

By Dixon-Spain


We’re delighted to confirm that we can take Credit Cards and Debit Cards on any of our websites now as we have just implemented Secure Sockets Layer and HTTPS, enabling 128-bit encryption for all transactions. No longer is Paypal our only means of taking payment – which is great because it means transactions will now become less complicated and more frictionless. The picture (inset) is our security certificate from Comodo and covers both the general site, but all of our Redemption sites for Groupon certificates.

And the featured image? The lock on our browser when the checkout page is reached!