I had a sudden desire the other day to go and find the “lookout” – an intriguing mirrored cabin designed a couple of years ago by architects Angus Ritchie and Daniel Tyler as part of the Scottish Scenic Routes initiative. We live on the edge of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park and, on our daily walks and drives about our environs I’ve come across a few of the other design projects created under the initiative (such as those at the Falls of Falloch and Inveruglas) but not seen this one.

Part of the reason for that is that the cabin blends so well into its surrounding landscape that it is actually quite difficult, at a first glance, to spot.

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The cabin sits on the narrow grassy stretch of ground that divides Loch Voil from Loch Doine. From here, the views are pretty stunning, and the mirrored surfaces of the cabin reflect and frame these views, so that even when looking down the loch in one direction, you can still see what’s behind you.

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Approaching the cabin, its distorted surfaces and reflections lend it a slightly spooky aspect. Dare you go inside? Might you emerge somewhere different if you do?

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The cabin is sneakily designed so that, on approach, its surfaces seem pretty much continuous. For example, from this angle, a mirrored plinth conceals one of the tiny seating areas within.

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There was no-one else about (at least when we stopped by) and sitting within the cabin is a curious experience – enclosed in this tiny space within the landscape, you immediately feel part of it. The space itself seems to prompt a different kind of looking.

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And if you enjoy photography, the relationship between humans, animals, and reflective surfaces provides endless interest and amusement.

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“Lookout” is my definite favourite of the design works that have been commissioned as part of the Scenic Routes initiative. It is tiny, unobtrusive – indeed almost invisible in its surroundings- but, once discovered its effect is dramatic and completely transformative. It’s a magic little portal that prompts a different kind of engagement and reflection on the stunning landscape it sits quietly within. I’m now trying to persuade Tom that what our garden really needs is a wee mirrored portal . . .

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To find “lookout”, turn off the A84 between Callander and Lochearnhead towards Balquhidder. Follow the single track road along Loch Voil, and you’ll find the cabin on your left before you reach the Monachyle Mhor hotel.

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46 thoughts on “lookout

  1. I just read the last three posts in a row, and wow, what a treat of photography. That one with Bruce reflected is fabulous – it exactly captures the man-made/nature distinction/collaboration that it sounds like the artwork is presenting you with. Thanks to the photographer (artist) and the builder (artist) and you for making it available to us!

    Erika

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  2. I love the juxtaposition of industrial metallic material with the unsullied landscape. It seems like it wouldn’t work, but it’s lovely. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. That is the most beautiful piece of art and sculpture I think I’ve seen. This may be the destination for our next trip away. Thank you for sharing it.

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  4. An amazing and amusing structure by itself and the scenery/geography intensify the experience. I will be in that part of Scotland in September and will surely lead my co-travelers on a hunt for the mirrors.

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  5. What an absolutely beautiful part of the world! The little lookout just reminds you to stop and look. I imagine it would be quite appreciated in the rain as well. I was in Callander about a month ago and found it to be a charming town and area.

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  6. As per usual, an interesting post by you, Kate. Thanks so much.

    I’ll be in England this week, exploring the Lake District with my daughter and son-in-law. Too bad we won’t be going a b it further north!

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  7. Very cool! And I love how Bruce or his reflection made its way into almost all of the photos. He adds a reality to the otherwise “other worldy” images of the magic cabin. Though tiny, one of the most unusual manmade architectural objects that I’ve ever seen. Thank you very much for sharing this with us.

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  8. I’d love to see these images, but some recent site update has all pictures at a set size, un-side-scrollable, huge and running off the right side of the page (as is this comment box on both sides). I use Firefox as my browser on my android phone. Hopefully it can be fixed and I can fully enjoy your blog again.

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  9. Wow! How interesting. I lived in Callander for several years and never knew about this cabin, but I’m visiting again next week so will look out for it on the way past Balquidder. Thanks for sharing! 😄

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  10. It’s fascinating to see how it reflects images and that makes me stop and think.
    But, generally, it’s a little unsettling and, for me, doesn’t quite feel right. I’ve seen mirrors used
    effectively in small gardens to help expand the space but this landscape is expansive
    all by itself and doesn’t need any embellishment. It’s sort of like man imposing on nature’s beauty.
    Guess I’ll have to think about that more!

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  11. Thank you for sharing your part of the world with us, Kate. We each have such beauty and soul-stirring things to hold in to in our environment. This is a real stunner, for sure.

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  12. What a wonderful art installation. I will be in visiting Scotland in September and staying in West Kilbride and the Lake of Menteith, I’ve just added this cabin to my plans! And with even the tiniest bit of luck I’ll be wearing my newly completed Hexa Hap(only one section left to knit!).

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