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!

manifesto_product

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:

finalfirst

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.

eastelevation

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!

 

Dunans Rising Phone App: iOS & Android Released …

… and of course we are still adding content and material, but finally dear old Apple have given the go-ahead for our app, which is on the iTunes store as I type.

To download one or the other for a nominal fee, please go to our app page here.

The app brings news, photos, video and tweets directly to hand, with tour booking, audio tours, virtual tours and the tour calendar all included. We’ve also shoe-horned the shop in to enable easy tartan purchasing, as well as more details about how to reach us, how to save money on your bills and contribute to the restoration at the same time, how to locate your plot and how to find our geocache (The Laird’s Purse).

We’re now looking at a tablet app – a completely different challenge!

Lairds and Ladies Website: Revamped and new content added

We’ve just implemented some long overdue changes to the Lairds’ and Ladies’ website, and more are on the way.

We’ve changed the look, creating a website that uses the same template as the ScottishLaird.com website, but darker (to distinguish it). This is Desktop, tablet and mobile friendly. We’re still working on this, so treat it as a draft …

Lairds_Ladies_revamp

We’ve added two new pages as well:

  1. Our plot finder is now part and parcel of the website, and easily accessible.
  2. We’ve created a Tour gallery, where Lairds and Ladies can upload their own photos of visiting Dunans and going on the tour… We’ve put some of our own photos up there already – see if you can spot yourself!!

The next part of the revamp is to include some exclusive content. Our plan is to publish the pdfs and documents that the renovation and refurbishment of Castle and Bridge has occasioned. Much of this you’ll have seen in abbreviated form via newsletters and blog posts here, but this is the full detail.

We’re also getting ready to welcome our new Lairds and Ladies of Dunans Bridge from our ongoing IndieGoGo campaign, as well as trying to streamline our email registration process…

Scottish Laird Calendar for 2015 is published!

For everyone who has entered our competition to vote for all the photos included in this gorgeous calendar, it is now for sale at the Scottish Laird website!

I’m really very proud of this – not least because it uses photographs from both myself and our redoubtable in-house professional photographer, Jean Donaldson (powan.co.uk). We do have one archive shot, not used before, to show what Dunans was like c. 1930. …. And we couldn’t resist a shot of the Scotties too, looking delightful in the frost this January.

I wonder if you can guess which are Jean’s and which are mine? Confirmation when you buy the calendar and look at the credits at the end!

calendar2015

The Books have arrived: The copies of the Conservation Plan for Dunans arrived yesterday!

copiesofthebook

We are all delighted with them, and Monday will see the first copies sent out to all the Lairds and Ladies who have ordered them from ScottishLaird.com.

This first print run is nearly all sold, so if you wish to ensure you receive a copy quickly, please order now.

 

Making email newsletters more elastic and more cost effective: @elasticemail

elasticemailSo Scottishlaird.com has over 11,000 subscribers divided into three separate lists, and frankly we were growing tired of an ever-inflating monthly charge from our old supplier – a rather overgrown simian. Now, don’t get me wrong the service was excellent, the templates great and creating an html email a breeze to put together and design, but the cost was ridiculous.

So yesterday, in email dialogue with Julie from ACT around the mailing list for that charity, the contractor recommended Elastic Email. So me having the technicals, I gave the system a once over.  So impressed was I, that I have converted our entire list to Elastic Email and dumped Mailchimp back down to the free account.

Why keep the free gorilla account? The wonderful integration between it and my e-commerce software – we’ll be using it to collect subscribers and then transfer them over to EE. Security-wise we’re fine, given that both companies are at the top of their game, but it is a bind to have to migrate users over ….

The only word of caution I’d give, is that EE isn’t quite as user-friendly as MC – but then I *think* that’s what you’d be paying extra for with when you go ape!

(… and all of this rather explains why there has been a hiatus on the email newsletter front with Scottish Laird – sorry!)

#FabulousFriday: finally closed out the Dunans Conservation Plan books, and redesigned the greeting pack for Lairds & Ladies

interiorspread-bluefolderWatch the Scottish Laird site for news on the books (in particular our Lairds’ and Ladies’ and the PDF versions), and in the meantime enjoy the inside of the ScottishLaird welcome pack A4 folder. Gorgeous isn’t it? Lots of Dunans Rising tartan, lots of Lairds and Ladies taking the tour, and lots of new information researched through the plan.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday until the end of October Lairds and Ladies are invited to Dunans for a tour at midday!

tourphotoJoin our intrepid guide Colin, on a tour which tells the tale of Dunans over the last 500 years.

Today a party of 15 learned about the history of the building, the fire in 2001, the bridge and the tallest tree in the UK (it is!).

We’re number-crunching the GPS coordinates for all the Lairds and Ladies’ Plot numbers

As is obvious from the picture, this is not a trivial task. The GPS coordinates we’re generating have to be processed using excel, then a text editor, and then parsed into SQL. At the same time, we’re relating the coordinates to specific plot numbers according to the schematic we drew up right at the beginning of the project in December 2007. These things take time, and we are still calibrating the results, so its all not entirely accurate yet.

If you would like to get an idea of where your plot is, please visit our beta app, here.