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.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
Just outside the castle entrance is a trailer full of the finest compost, rich, organic, dark and friable. The rumour is that it's destined for Ardnamurchan Estate's extensive vegetable gardens, though I'm not sure where they are.
The source of this compost is inside the castle, within the north range: it's coming out of the well. Some of builder John-Paul Ashley's men look like old-style coal miners, climbing some ten foot or more down the narrow well shaft to dig out its contents. Picture shows Iain MacPhail from Achnaha who is taking turns with others to spend 30 minute shifts working in the confined and somewhat smelly space.
This picture looks straight down the well to where Iain is working. Each shovelful of compost has to be pulled up in a bucket and then barrowed out of the building.
When I asked archaeologist Kenny Macfadyen, who is overseeing the work, why the well was full of first-class compost, he said that it was quite likely that it was well-rotted human excrement. He had seen other sites where the well, after it had fallen out of use, had been converted into a convenience. Certainly, using it would have been preferable to the open-air garderobes on a wet and windy day.
Meanwhile the two scaffolders, supported by John-Paul's workmen and enjoying the fresh air, are making great progress. The beams which shift the upper level so it's against the castle wall are now in place on two sides, and, by this morning....
....a walkway connecting the scaffolding on the western wall to the car park was in place. This view looks down on it from the castle entrance. Materials can now be moved straight from the car park along the scaffold network. Despite this, I still haven't ventured out onto the scaffolding.
This is the building team on site at the moment, enjoying their morning break. On the bench at front left are Roger Piccolo, left, and Iain MacPhail. At the picnic table at right are the two scaffolders, John Forsyth, left, and Stephen Holmes. From left to right along the back are Phil Masters, Howard, Lewis MacLean from Acharacle, John-Paul Ashley, and Wayne Heavey.