This week I was asked to update the Adventures in Preservation Volunteers (or jammers) on our projects for 2021, so on Friday at 5pm I livestreamed from the bridge and then took my viewers on a short walk to the castle to give them a flavour of what the project would consist next year.
The details are that we will be welcoming jammers for a fortnight in May and September – the details are available here.
Refurbishing Dunans Bridge …
The repairs to the bridge are wonderful progress toward the full refurbishment of this Telford-designed A-listed structure. It seems amazing to me that these are the first thorough-going repairs to the bridge since the 19th Century when the stanchions were reinforced with concrete. It just shows how durable Mr Telford’s design is.
Of course, the plan had been to refurbish the bridge in one season through funds acquired from Historic Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Our efforts were stymied by our inability to engage with our neighbours on the management plan our team had designed. With a deed of servitude over the bridge, our neighbours agreement to the plan was critical to the granting of funds of £750,000. As it is we have managed a programme, funded privately by the ScottishLaird project, which has achieved a great deal, but in a piece-meal fashion.
Our Jammers have been a Revelation!
Having said all that, working on the structure in this episodic manner has been a blast – not only because I have developed skills I never thought I’d need (rope-work, lime mortar mixing and scaffolding), but we have been introduced to some of the loveliest heritage fanatics – sorry, jammers – one could ever hope to meet (Brian, Lindy, Richard and Holly, I am looking at you!!).
With help from volunteers from SPAB and Historic Scotland during weekends either side of each sessions, we think we may even get a shot at repointing the ‘softer’ north face of the bridge (sounds like North Face of the Eiger doesn’t it?). This will then leave the main arch and the bottoms of the stanchions for 2022 – although whether we will have to engage a professional team for this as well, we are not sure. However we progress though, we wouldn’t have managed to get so far with the bridge without our volunteers!
… and the Castle!
But of course for 2021, the bridge isn’t the only story, and in the livestream I showed our jammers (and some Lairds and Ladies) into the main turret of the castle. This 4m circular tower was designed to be capped by a huge candle-snuffer conical slate roof, and the project for next year will be to repair the apertures, consolidate the doorways and, perhaps, work on the circular parapet at the top of the tower. I am hopeful that by the time the jammers get to it, we will have floors and temporary stairs all the way up the inside of the turret! Should make for a really memorable project!
Both Eland and Nigel are lined up to come back – and looking forward to meeting lots of new faces (and some familiar ones too!) And we are also back at the very popular HomeFarm Cottages with all of our preferred apartments.
I’ll be running the excursions again (because I really enjoyed them last time) and Anne and Sadie will be on hand to make sure you are all fed and I don’t eat more than my fair share.
For more details on the ScottishLaird project please click here.
For more details on Adventures in Preservation, please click here.
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