My Final Week and Fundraising

My final week was spent in Seattle. Having looked at flights, with baggage, it made more sense for Calum and me to rent a car and I’m so glad we did! Typically a 4 hour drive from Spokane, with a detour to the Twighlight Zone feeling Bavarian German town of Levenworth, the journey took 7 hours! Although long, the drive was beautiful.

After enjoying the weekend, we had more interviews to do with some important people from the story of CLT not only in Washington, but the USA.

We firstly met Lyndsay Frome Hanna, the Director of Policy and Community Programmes at Forterra. Forterra is a charity-based land management organisation who, amongst other things, aim to “preserve critical land while investigating news ways to secure substantial conservation and materially improve communities while providing market return”.

Calum and I then met Joe Mayo, a Seattle based architect who has been pushing for the adoption of CLT. He has done so by being heavily involved in city and state coalitions to advance building code with wood, as well as integrating CLT in his design of local schools. We knew Joe would be and interesting interviewee due to his book Solid Wood: Mass Timber Architecture, Technology and Design, but his knowledge and interesting opinion went beyond what we expected.

On Wednesday, we met Susan Jones, the lead architect at AtelierJones, who introduced CLT to the USA with her CLT home. After building her home solely from CLT, the storey was published online and soon went viral. Thereafter, Susan has been at the forefront of promoting the use of CLT and was even on the technical board of approvals.

Far from our original expectations of being tourists for a week, the people Calum and I interviewed were the cherry on top of our fantastic closing weeks. Without Ryan Smith’s help in organising these interviews, our internship would definitely not have been worthwhile so again, thank you Ryan for coordinating this.


I have played the bagpipes for around 21 years. I have played in Highland Games, competed in solo and pipe band competitions, I play in a ceilidh band, and in Edinburgh, I busk on the Royal Mile. It is no stretch to say that this instrument has been a huge part of my life. Bagpipes are an inherent part of Scottish culture, and I feel great pride when I represent my heritage by playing.

My skills as a bagpiper have allowed me to work flexible hours so that I can concentrate on my studies when I need to. In a way, this freedom has helped me to successfully progress through my course.

My internship was different to others in such that I wasn’t working within a host company; there was no office to work in, therefore there was no office culture or typical working hours; and my only workmate was another Scholar, Calum Stuart. With a fundamental part of the scholarship being to raise funds and awareness for Entrepreneurial Scotland, I had to get creative with how I could fulfil that task. To represent Scotland and Entrepreneurial Scotland, I chose to use my skills as a bagpiper and to busk.

Spokane – where I spent 10 weeks of my internship – is a relatively small city. Its expanse means that people travel predominantly by car and there is little footfall in even the most central part of the city. Therefore, with our last week planned to be spent in Seattle, I chose to wait until then to take my bagpipes to the streets.

Seattle is a busy, overbearing city and the potential for me annoying people by playing the loudest instrument in the world was high. I decided to play down by the Seattle waterfront after hearing other obnoxious instruments such as the djembe being battered all day long. In my kilt, having not played much for months, and in the blistering Seattle sun, I could only manage to play for just under an hour. It was exhausting!

However, the glass jar I borrowed from the hostel was full of notes and a few photos were taken. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to ask for my own photo to be taken during the act but back at the hostel I was able to count my earnings.

A grand total of $64 and some small change!

Although not the most earth-shattering amount raised, devoid of the office structure of other Scholars, I’m proud that I made something out of nothing!