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.

Friday, 18 October 2013

A Wobbly Wall

Of all the walls in this grand old castle - and there are, if you think about it, very little in a ruin like this except walls - the one that has been causing the greatest concern is just about visible to the right of the scaffolding in this picture.  It stands at the eastern end of the moat (on the map in the right-hand column of this blog it's marked as a 'retaining wall'), and its original purpose, and that of its counterpart at the other end of the moat, is still a matter of some discussion.

It's definitely not original, as can be seen from this picture where the wall, at right, is butting up against the north curtain wall of the castle.  It may have been added at the time the main range became a lairdly mansion, in the years either side of 1700, when the moat was largely filled in with rubble taken from the renovations.

Whatever the story, the wall was built so it was perched above a gully - until recently the home of a mink and her family - into which, on stormy days, the waves are funnelled, resulting in the wall becoming undermined.

There came a point where John-Paul Ashley of Ashley Thompson builders, who is responsible for the works at the castle, decided he had to do something to stabilise the wall before it collapsed.  A careful re-pointing job has therefore been done, but in such a way that I, as an innocent bystander, can hardly see where the repairs have been made.

At the same time pipes have been inserted under the wall to drain the moat, as the area at this end of the moat will house the biomass central heating plant for the castle.

I'm impressed with the workmanship, particularly as the mortar J-P has used looks just like the original mortar.  As I said to him, I bet the castle is pleased, after nearly 200 years of neglect, to feel the start of such a sympathetic make-over.

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