Extraordinary Ecosystem change: Can Pine Martens control Grey Squirrels to the benefit of the Reds?

By Dixon-Spain

Another one of those thought-provoking ecosystem observations, this time from Ireland, which if taken up could see the grey tree rats exiled from these islands altogether. I kid you not!


Something perhaps to consider and debate with the community forest at Stronafian …

Should it be Grey or Gray – given the source of these pests? I am not sure …

A Valentines Day Gift: Chocolates from ScottishLaird

By Dixon-Spain


Not sure we need to say much more, except that our sensational selection of six Scottish chocolates were made as a special commission for us by the excellent Caramiche Chocolatiers who can be found in Dunoon in a gorgeous haze of chocolateness … Chocolates helping restore a castle in Scotland – wonderful!

1000-collection 1000-overhead-box

There’s the Dunans Dram, the Castle Cranachan, Wild River Raspberry, Highland Honeybee, the Laird’s Retreat and the Lady’s Secret …

Now at our website, ScottishLaird.com, but hurry, we have only very limited stocks!

Landslip at Dunans: Ravine path closed, repairs imminent!

By Dixon-Spain


This winter has been very hard on the grounds at Dunans. We’ve seen so much intense rainfall that the paths, like last year, are a quagmire. Some relief was afforded by the freeze of last week, but the problem is deep-seated and is about what is happening to the climate overall.

In early January the amount of rainfall led to a large landslip in the ravine, effectively blocking any access to the Laird’s Island. This map, which will be familiar to Lairds and Ladies shows the exact location in relation to Castle and Bridge.

Finding a way to bridge this gap in our path network might prove impossible, given the dynamic nature of the landscape – see the video of the river from Sunday for an idea of the type of flow we receive on an ordinary day …

We’re hopeful that some form of bridge or boardwalk will be possible, but before then we’ll have to wait for the ravineside to settle – and frankly, we are not sure when that will be. We are therefore also looking at alternative pathways, particularly to aid our tours… We’ll have more on this as we work out solutions in time for opening in late March in time for Easter!

Here’s the video:


Safety First at Dunans: Protecting our visitors and also the castle

By Dixon-Spain


Over the last year, as you’ll know if you have been following us, we’ve put in place a variety of surveys, plans and consultations which will help us realise the restoration of the castle. Over Christmas David Wright helped us take a small step further by installing a safety fence around the castle.

Now most safety fences are metal temporary things which have a habit of falling over at the drop of a hat – or weather bomb as the British press likes to call them. There’s a great example of how not to do it along Loch Fyne at St. Catherine’s.

Our safety consultant, Gillian Clark of GMO Consulting therefore recommended a post and rails fence, one that would look relatively benign in the context of the castle, and provide a proper visual and physical barrier to the building.

The results are great – the main photo above shows how the fencing is not particularly visually intrusive, and the ones below the detail of how we fenced and gated the front and side. You’ll notice we have left an area for the signage to remain, so our tours will remain safe behind the fence, but their view of the building won’t be obscured.