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.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

An Octocopter View of Mingary

While I was away, a very detailed photographic survey of both the exterior and interior of the castle was carried out from the air.  The interior views wouldn't have been possible using a helicopter or a fixed-wing plane, so it was done by an amazing little machine called an octocopter, operated by Scottish business Flying Scotscam.

Started seven years ago by father and son partnership Michael and Gerry Smith, the opportunities Flying Scotscam offer have been seized upon by archaeologists wishing to make available the work they are doing on the ground to as wide an audience as possible.  So, for example, this has enabled the archaeological excavation on the remote island of Westray in the Orkneys to be been brought in to everyone's living room - see link here.

At Mingary Castle the octocopter took multiple pictures of the exterior of the castle from above, from a 45 degree angle, and from the horizontal.   The job took three days and, as can be seen from these stunning pictures, they chose some beautiful weather.

The images, taken by a 14 megapixel camera, will be used to create a photogrammetric survey. The resulting tour of images will be different to that of Westray though it will be presented in a similar format.

Mike and Gerry started their business by building their own machines using open source technology from the internet, but recently they have invested in a German octocopter,  an Asctec Falcon 8 built by Ascending Technologies.  To get some idea of the capabilities of this little machine, even in a strong wind, watch the YouTube video here.

I have kept the best part of the work they've done to last.  As I said, the octocopter's most promising applications are in taking pictures in confined and possibly dangerous places.  The interior of Mingary Castle was a chance for Michael and Gerry to show what their machine can do, so they have begun to create a survey which takes the viewer right into the castle.  This is a preliminary version: the link is at

That the Mingary Castle Preservation and Restoration Trust has invested in this survey is further proof of their commitment to making the process of restoration open and widely available.

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