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.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Saving Mingary from Collapse - 2

When I visited the site on Tuesday the team from Vertical Technology had completed the 'easy' bit in the moat and were living up to the company's name, hanging off the very vertical cliff below the west curtain wall while drilling into the hard granophyre.  Each of the two men working on the face - John in the yellow helmet and Tony in the blue - are attached to the top of the cliff by two ropes, the main and the safety.  The two ropes running right up the cliff, which go over the battlements and are fixed in the castle courtyard, carry the weight of the drill.

The drill is driven by compressed air and was developed for use in mining.  The two men operating it have to exert considerable pressure on it to work it into the cliff, and it's juddering and leaping around all the time.  They work a maximum of half-an-hour before taking a break.

As team leader, it's Simon's job to act as safety officer, checking things like the ropes, the knots, and that the men are working safely - not, for example, immediately under a large lump of rock that's about to fall off.

In all they have some 80 - 85 holes to sink into the granophyre, the exact location and depth of each calculated by Francis Shaw of Wighton Jagger Shaw and marked on photographs of the cliff faces.  Weather permitting - what is most likely to delay them is high winds - this should take three to four weeks.

Finally, here's another picture of this cheerful team - which includes, at bottom right, the real team leader.

Many thanks to Simon, Tony, John and Roger for the warm welcome I received while watching them work, and to Simon for his patience in explaining what was going on.

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