Progress at Tornagrain

This will be a blog of many pictures and few words, designed to give everyone who’s not able to get themselves to Inverness a good look at the emerging town we are designing up in the Highlands.  It’s so exciting to see progress at Tornagrain – and as many regular readers will know, this is perhaps one of my favourite projects.  If you search back through old blogs, you can read the story – if you are unfamiliar, or need a refresher, perhaps starting with this one, or one of the more recent posts here.  It’s absolutely amazing to compare back to a few months ago and to see how quickly it’s taking shape – and, at the end of a good summer in Scotland, how wonderfully all the new landscaping and planting is taking shape and bedding in.

And I wanted to get a quick little blog out before this weekend – because today, I’m about to head off to the Melplash show, and tomorrow we’ve got Bridie coming down for the Great Dorset Steam fair…. and what with one thing and another, I think that would just be too many blogs all in one go.

So, here we go. These photos are of Malvina Green, a tiny green surrounded by cottages, named after my client John Moray’s mother, Malvina. The timber columns are a characteristic detail of many of the Moray Estate cottages built in the 19th century.

Everywhere, the estate is planting a good selection of very robust plants. Bee friendly!!

This is one of my favourite little cottages. Originally it was built without the porch, but the new owners liked their neighbours porches so much that they added one of their own!

Views to trees and distant hills everywhere. 

The tall red apartment building is on the terminus of a long vista road.  There’s commercial space in the ground floor – a crucial part of the Tornagrain principles to get mixed use throughout the settlement – not just a housing estate. 

The first terrace of cottages stepping down the hill of Croy Road:

Parking is in rear mews courtyards with simple boarded timber garages, with flats above so it’s not just a boring car park.

For some reason this pink house is one of my favourites!

New streets under construction. 

Around this green, the houses are more delicately coloured. 

The first stone facade, in local natural sandstone!

Looking back up the Croy Road…

The very first houses completed – paired villas. 

The planting is looking incredible and trees growing so well! Now you can see that apartment building again:

We’d headed off for a drive to Tain to go and look at the town square which John wanted to measure as a potential inspiration for our town square, which we are planning at the moment…. And, as we drove back, the most beautiful evening light seemed to be happening. We pulled back into the town to take some more photos. 

Suddenly, over the rooftops, opened up a rainbow…. 

Beautiful golden evening light….

I posted some of these pictures on instagram and a recurring comment was ‘where are all the people’.  It’s a funny thing, but when I’m taking photos of my buildings, I tend to wait for a car or a person to move out of shot. But one of these days, I’ll enjoy writing a blog called ‘where are all the people’ and can ruminate a little bit more on that subject.

For now, I just wanted to record a work in progress of what really is one of the most exciting projects in the office. As always, we tear ourselves away and I can’t wait to be back. It’s especially good to have an excuse to get to Scotland though, these days!

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