Smartphone Cases for Lairds & Ladies: #DunansRising tartan, #DunansCastle and Lechadhu insignia on the back of #yourphone

Delighted to announce another product now launched on the ScottishLaird.co.uk website: smartphone cases for iPhone 5 onwards and the Samsung Note range.

We’ve presently four designs to choose from, the plain Dunans Rising Tartan, the Lord’s/Laird’s/Lady’s phone (on tartan), the Spring view of Dunans Castle (taken by myself in 2005) and Jean Donaldson’s wonderful shot of the insignia which graces the curtain wall at Dunans.

We think they are all fabby, hope you do too! You’ll find them all here.

 

@what3words: Coordinates for #DunansCastle in three words, include fragment.curly.firebird and cups.domestic.inventors

Postcodes and GPS coordinates are, let’s face it, complex and easy to get wrong – particularly when you are trying to remember them to put them into your satnav / maps / google maps. The What3words app is the answer. I know without looking at the title of this post that the coordinate for the drivehead at Dunans is fragment.curly.firebird. The postcode covers at least three other houses and the GPS, well, I am just not sure. But a mirror image of a phoenix with curly feathers ripped in half, means that whenever someone needs an accurate location, I have it to hand, immediately…  Similarly, I have a visual image of a bunch of guys in lab coats, in a kitchen, drinking tea back to front … genius, particularly as they’re in the castle when they are doing it.

With 40,000 words and consequently 57 trillion combinations, the world can be covered in three metre squares, or the size of the average room. And it is all so memorable. So for example here’s one I particularly love which identifies a place I often have to meet newcomers to the glen in – flukes.reports.unicorns. However, I am not sure the committee would approve – but then I do have a mental image of a narwhal reading a paper inside out?!

For balance I should just add sheep.conga.pleaser … !

Dunans T-shirts: Logos, elevations and manifesto available to wear!

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Not even sure we need to say anything more, save that these t-shirts have been a blast to design, and there’ll be more t-shirts available as we go forward! Enjoy!

The #DunansCastle Manifesto for Lairds, Lords, Ladies and all supporters of the Restoration of #Dunans

Available at our online store, our manifesto needs very little introduction, except to say that when printed at A3 (420mm x 297mm), framed and hung on the wall it looks fabulous … well, I would say that!

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Schroomage: Plugs of Oyster, Lions Mane and Shiitake installed …

… ready for harvest next year, we think.

Actually, this is a test run, and one which may not bear any [funghi] fruit as we are using a substrate (the lime or linden) felled by an errant gust of wind in August 2013. Its been on my mind to try this for a while because, frankly, the log is no use to anyone given that someone, at sometime, a long time ago had banged a bunch of hand cut 6-8″ nails into the tree. These nails were so embedded in the log that we only knew they were there when the stripped off the tungsten tips of our mill blade on the Lucas Mill.

We thought there’d be only one or two, but it turned out there were a whole heap of them around a foot under the surface. A real shame because the wood would’ve been fantastic for a variety of uses.

So we are left with a big log, one which we thought to innoculate with a bunch of mushroom types to see which would take. Luckily on the surface we have a 4″x4″ half milled length which is perfect for innoculation (see here for the types and thicknesses of wood appropriate – lime being conspicuously absent). However, while this, and the final log from the monkey puzzle, will be further tested on, I found in my research that Alder (which grows like topsy here – ‘topsy’ being a technical term you understand) is a particularly flexible wood for the growing of mushrooms, so one of my projects for the next few months (to provide me with distraction from the all-consuming deskwork that is planning for the restoration of the castle) is to set up some shroom stands in the grounds and innoculate them with further types, including Evoki, Pearl Oyster, Lion’s Mane, Chicken, Shiitake. As you may have gathered, I love mushrooms, and given the enjoyment we have had from the Chanterelle we sometimes find in the woods behind us, I felt this might be a worthwhile endeavour!

New Dunans Rising Tartan website: The Gift of Tartan for #DunansCastle

We’re always looking for ways to promote the restoration of Dunans Castle and the sale of products made from our tartan, Dunans Rising, is an ideal way of doing so.

In the registration of our tartan we say:

[….] for the use of those who have aided the restoration of Dunans Castle, including those who have contributed time, expertise or knowledge to the project (whether as part of a contract or voluntarily).

from the Tartan Register of Scotland

In other words, our lairds and ladies can wear the tartan by virtue of the fact that the titles they own have helped restore the castle. For those who buy the tartan, it becomes theirs by right because in the purchase they aid the castle’s restoration.

To promote this latter idea we have set up a new website, dunansrising.clothing in which we offer our full tartan range – garments, accessories and soft toys – we hope you enjoy it!ourtartan-registration ourtartanbears

Just as a small note on the technical side of things. The new website uses a wordpress install, a .clothing domain and shopify [delivering the ecommerce side].

Journey to the Heart of #DunansCastle: the Drawing Room

Last week I ventured into the library and took some atmospheric pictures of that segment of the castle. This week, or rather over the weekend I ventured into the Drawing Room compartment of the castle to survey the job in hand. As I said last time I am preparing to start the clearance work, and this is the area where we’ll start. This first shot is from the double-width aperture in the south elevation of the castle.

0IMG_3937This compartment is as full, if not more so, than the library – it also contains one of Andy McLintock’s sculptures!

As you step inside however and look up you are confronted with some safety challenges:

0IMG_3941Right above your head is this small, vestigial platform, hanging from which is a sash weight – an actual sword of damocles while the entrance is cleared. This will be one of the first tasks: to remove platform and weight before doing anything further …

The wall to the left in the above picture, is shown below at is imposing, vertiginous best below:

0IMG_3939And just to reassure everyone, that this photo, taken from below aforementioned sword of Damocles, was accompanied by as much safety gear as possible!

To give the viewer a sense of the size of the compartment I took another vertical panorama:

0IMG_3942While this is the most accessible of the compartments, there is an awful lot of materiel to clear, not least the wood. Once a path is cleared to the turret we’ll do another series.

For now though here’s a final panorama showing the full extent of the infill.

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Journey to the Heart of #DunansCastle: The Old Library

We’ve recently heard crashes and rumbles from the old building, and so today I set myself the task of finding out what was going on. The obvious culprit was the chimney stack at the back of the castle. But the small apertures now appearing, while a problem for the chimney stack itself, would not a cacophony make.

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As you’ll know we are presently working on the plans for the building, and much of the internal structure will be removed, so our only real concern is if the exterior is compromised. Externally it looks fine, but a fuller inspection was indicated.

So I went inside. To find the old library filled to head height with rubble, joists, plaster and shelving. I should add here, that I have an ulterior motive to this scouting about: at some point in the next week or so, I’ll be taking our minidigger into the structure to begin the mammoth task of clearing the castle out – the sort of job all men love, combining a good tidy up, including bonfire, with a good dose of danger!

IMG_3933As you can see from the photo above, the shelving is still in situ, but the blackened joists from the floors above have now all fallen in.

IMG_3934When you look up you begin to see how dangerous this structure is.

At the very top, in the chimney, is the double hole showing the side-by-side flues. Below that two door apertures, with spindly floor joists between – these would have been the joists which held up the floor to the chapel.

Below the first storey door, you then find the tops of the library shelves, which swiftly descend into all the materials which have fallen into this compartment of the castle both during the fire and after. Slate, plaster, lath, and stone is all visible and expected. The bracken and saplings are also present throughout the ruin.

What I didn’t expect (and therefore didn’t get a photo of) were the trio of bumblebees buzzing about the wall to the right of this picture – see the photo below which gives an idea of the scale of the internal structure, and an idea of the structures sheer immovability.

The apertures into the flues are very visible at the top of this picture. The flues are vulnerable in this way because of the weathering action of rain combined with the sulphur and other volatiles from years of coal and wood burning.

I’ll post photos from another ‘room’ shortly.

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*With apologies to Joseph Conrad.

 

Dunans Rising Notebooks: Now in our online store!

Gorgeous Green and Purple notebooks with a silver Dunans Rising logo have just been added to our online store. Find them here!

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Finalised Draft of Our Plans for Dunans Castle: Elevated highlights!

We have just posted the full pdf of the draft plans into our archive on the Dunans Rising App, as well as the Lairds and Ladies website. We’re delighted with the results and wanted to share three screen grabs of the highlights …

The first is the plan for the first storey:

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This is an important evolution because the exit at the back of the building allows us to use both the first and ground floors each for 100 guests. This capacity is critical in making the building sustainable.

The fire escape creates what we think is a really interesting intervention in the rear elevation of the castle – particularly so because the spiral stair will mirror the internal one.

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Without the stair, in its original format, the building is only prevented from seeming weighted to the lefthand side by the wonderful Russian Vine which masks the effect. With the escape we think the elevation now looks much more ‘grounded’. And of course the balustrade on the platform will mirror the one on the roof!

The roof itself, provides the third grab and one of the most delicious prospects in the revitalised castle – a roof terrace. finalroof

One of the disadvantages of living in Scotland during the winter is the lack of light. Dawn can be as late as 9am and dusk as early as 3.30pm. A roof terrace coupled with the cupola, sending light deep into the building’s interior will create a winter-proof building which will be a delight to use.

These plans provide for three self-catering apartments accommodating up to 14 and two floors of event space which in turn means that the building will be sustainable far into the future.

Obviously these are draft plans, and subject to all the usual reservations about things changing, but they provide us with two things: a concrete costing to base our projects on with regard to finance and funding; and a definite vision of how this building will be used – a vision we think will be realised in shorter order than we thought even 6 months ago!