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.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

A First Visit to the Battlements

I have made what I hope is the first of many visits to the battlements of Mingary Castle.  Until the last few days, they have been inaccessible, as the only set of steps leading up to them, from the passageway in to the courtyard, are almost completely collapsed.  Now there is a builder's ladder which gives access, and three of the workmen from specialist builders Ashley Thompson have started the slow and painstaking task of removing the humus that has collected from the centuries of vegetation that has been growing there.

Once cleared, the flags of the walkway around the battlements are in remarkably good condition, as are most of the battlements themselves, though, in places, they are only held vertical by the grass roots which bind them.  When it comes to restoration, each of these loose stones will have to be removed, cleaned, and replaced in exactly the same place.

The most fragile of the structures is the front wall of the north range, the top of which seems to have been invaded by the most vegetation, including several small shrubs and ivy.  John-Paul Ashley, who was my guide and minder while I gingerly explored the walkway, advised me that it was the one section which should not be visited.

From the battlements the whole of the courtyard is laid out below.  This view looks across to the east range, the most recent of the interior buildings.  Now that - to put it in John-Paul's words - there is a steel ramp and 'drawbridge' at the castle's front entrance, it's been possible to get a small machine into the courtyard to help remove the material that is dropped down from the battlements.

Some of the permanent residents of the castle are none too pleased with all the activity.  Not that a few builders, engineers, architects, archaeologists, rope access technicians and a stray blogger is going to prevent them from feeding their young.

Many thanks to John-Paul for a fascinating guided tour.

1 comment:

  1. Well done to the starlings for hanging on in there, our wildlife is more resilient than most, be kind to them guys.

    The Raptor