New and Old, Lost and Found.

Only in Scotland.

In the short span of one week, the country witnesses the strange dichotomy of a new town being evoked out of nothingness, and a lost village appearing out of time and nature to make a triumphant return to somethingness.

Lochside daingean

At Tornagrain, just between Inverness and Nairn, the Highland Council is currently undertaking final planning and proposed development of a new settlement able to accommodate in excess of 10,000 people. Lochside, expected to drive forward the Inverness-shire economy, is already meeting resistance from some local public and council members who feel that expansion of existing towns and cities should precede the creation of a new locality. Looks like the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ is getting popular, and the Inverness area, including the Culloden environs, are also being considered for further housing expansion. More here.

Meanwhile, just up the loch, forester Allan Mackenzie recently stumbled upon a lost village whose last inhabitants moved house in 1785. Daingean was a small community of Gaels on the west side of Loch Ness, emptied during the Clearances to make room for sheep grazing in the latter half of the 18th century. Forgotten to time and lost amongst the trees, Daingean was woken up five years ago – completely by accident. Good work by the Forestry Commission, who chose not to replant in the area surrounding the ruins of Daingean, instead opening up the site for interpretation and heritage work.


5 Responses to “New and Old, Lost and Found.”

  1. thistlelurid Says:
    August 28th, 2005 at 10:54 pm

    fabulous photo….I wonder how many souls so many ages ago stood
    in that same doorway and paused there as he did….it boggles the mind.
    how will they interpret us I wonder….our great great great great grandchildren
    of the future…when theyre discovering and digging up our abandoned spaces…
    makes me want to bury something in the yard that will make them do this
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  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 30th, 2005 at 9:30 am

    I'm worried for what they might think if they dig up *my* backyard…
    And in yours, there would be yarnballs coughed up by marmalade cats and remnants of old hats abound. A fine archaeological project!

  3. hermiston Says:
    August 29th, 2005 at 9:17 am

    illicit still?
    How can decide this? As far as I have gathered Scotland's more recent experiments in building 'new towns' have been relatively successful communities. In turn nasty extensions do not reshape the character and balance of existing settlements, be they larger towns or smaller ones. I picture Nairn, as I can many Scottish towns like it, and I can imagine the attitudes of the folk already living there to the 300 hundred or more households that got stuck on the fringe of their town. I can imagine the swelling at the seams, already happening to an extent in Inverness, so that it goes on and on once you feel like you've left. I imagine the influx of folk, the pressure on the geography, on the amenities, and the greed at the extra commerce. Do places we know and love need to go down that road?
    But what for a new town? To scar a well drawn map, to reshape the geography of a larger region, and to redistribute the resources. I'm attracted, I must say, to the idea of starting again, and learning from old mistakes and applying new techniques. Less confident however in the people charged with that task. Architecture, building in Scotland presently is without character, imagination and often without endurance either.
    No doubt something needs done, to redress a great imbalance between north and south. And to redress Scotland's declining population. Such makes me think the executive will blindly plough ahead on their dogged course then, and be glad something's being done. I wonder, though, how much this project could help other communities badly in need of regeneration – would the commercial benefits of building and sustaining these settlements not be better directed to crumbling communities like Peterhead?

  4. hermiston Says:
    August 29th, 2005 at 9:22 am

    Re: illicit still?
    Daft typo: meant to say nasty extensions DO reshape the character and balance of extant towns!

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 30th, 2005 at 9:41 am

    Re: illicit still?
    You make some smashingly good points here, Kieran. There's a great rift between starting anew and the scarring of the land and subsequent misappropriation of funds where this type of project might be more relevant. Of course the Executive is more focused on the clean new start of a possible burgeoning community, placed in a very desirable and up-and-coming area rather than the tenements and slums ringing some of Scotland's major metropolitan areas. Wouldn't the money be better served with wiping Falkirk clean and starting anew there, perhaps?
    You're right about the neutered quality of modern Scottish architecture, especially when compared with the old. But that idea of starting fresh always appeals to our inner settler and pilgrim.

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