The Mingary Castle restoration blog was written by Jon Haylett, who lives in the local village of Kilchoan. Now that restoration is almost complete Holly and Chris Bull will take over to report on bringing the Castle back to life.

Friday, 17 May 2013

A Gem from the Dungeon

It was one of those brilliant, crystal-clear Highland mornings this morning when I arrived at the castle.  The builders from Ashley Thompson, who are helping the archaeologists by removing the heavier material, were in the process of moving the castle's front door, and needed some help.  It took five of us to lift it through the entrance and along the narrow causeway across the moat.

Builder foreman Richard Argent spent most of his morning deep in the castle's dungeon.  It's full of rocks from the walls that seem to have been dumped in there, so he was working his way carefully through them, lifting them out one at a time, when....

....he came upon a little gem.  It's a horseshoe, but it's tiny.  Much speculation followed as to why it was so small, and why it was in the dungeon.  One suggestion was that it may have come from a Shetland pony, perhaps one which belonged to the little daughter of the laird of the castle.

The team's breaking up for the moment, with archaeologists Andrew Morrison (left) and Ross Cameron (right) returning to the office to write up their report for Historic Scotland, while Richard remains on site.  The archaeologists will be back next week to supervise work on the area in front of the castle.  This is being cleared to make way for the works equipment being brought in the for next stage, clearing all the interior of the castle and underpinning the curtain walls.


  1. perhaps not a horseshoe at all, but from a 'hob nailed boot' heel. we've found loads of them identical to this in the 17th and 18th century mine workings here in the north pennines

    1. Thats a thought. An iterant miner on his way to or from the lead workings at Strontian/Liddlesdale at the head of the loch, taking shelter for the night. The dates would fit.
      David Hogg.