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, 26 September 2013

Exterior Scaffolding Complete

The exterior scaffolding on the castle is now complete.  There are four levels - or 'lifts' - round the southern walls, with six lifts along the northern walls to give access to the main building inside.  The structure was an impressive sight in this morning's bright sunshine.

Projecting to the right, the north in this picture, are three loading levels which are now served by an electric pulley system, enabling heavy loads to be raised.  The only thing that's missing are the access stairs, in a tower which will be bolted on to the outside.

At present access is up three ladders, which look intimidating to the uninitiated but are well worth the climb.  This picture was taken from the sixth lift on the NW wall, looking at the uppermost of the loading areas.  This is an important level as it gives direct access to the battlements which, as can be seen to the right of the picture, are in desperate need of restoration.

The top lift also gives an excellent view across the gabled roofline of the north range, the main building.  There are three gables, the one at the nearer end being in best condition.  Their restoration requires them to be taken down stone by stone, and then rebuilt, something which will have to be done pretty quickly if a roof is going to be put on this range in time for the winter.  It's hoped, then, that work on the range can continue throughout the, often very wet, winter months.

The views of the castle are impressive enough from the top lift, but the views outwards are even more stunning.  This picture was taken at low tide looking southeastwards towards the point called Maclean's Nose.  In the distance is part of the mainland called Morvern.  The rocks here are Jurassic limestones cut by Tertiary igneous intrusions from the period when Ardnamurchan was a volcano.

With work complete on the exterior, the scaffolders are starting in the courtyard, working on all three buildings at the same time.  The courtyard's surface is extremely uneven, and has some huge holes in it, so getting the base of the scaffolding in has been difficult.  But at least the scaffolders are now working in an area protected from the weather: they were working on the exterior when, the other day, we had almost 40mm of rain in a 24-hour period.

The men on the site are getting so used to me that conversations don't stop when I heave into view.  But it does enable me to take pictures of them at work: this one shows builder John-Paul Ashley, left, who is responsible for all the works on the site, talking to head scaffolder John Forsyth.

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