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, 25 October 2013

Rapid Progress on Site

The scaffolding is now complete on the outside of the castle, and easy access is now available to all levels - from the bottom of the moat and the beach to the highest battlements.  The roof on the main building is also finished, so John Forsyth of JRandM Scaffolding is now concentrating on the two smaller ranges in the courtyard.

This picture shows the west range with the scaffold rising around it.  John has to organise the structure so that the builders can easily reach every part of the walls, including the three fireplaces with their chimneys, some of which are in a dangerous state.

This picture shows the east range, which is smaller and easier for the builders to access.  The plan at present is to raise the scaffolding as far as the level of the battlements, after which it will be capped by a temporary roof which will enable the building to be dried out before work begins on it.  At the same time, this roof will be high enough to allow John-Paul Ashley's men to rebuild the range's slate roof.

Meanwhile, stonemason 'H' has been continuing the long and dangerous task of stabilising the many lintels in the main range.  Most had oak lintels, some of which had completely disappeared.  They're being replaced by these reinforced concrete ones.

These new lintels are above one of the windows in the front aspect of the main range.  These have required the insertion of nine concrete lintels into each, while....

....this interior wall has needed six.  This example is the top of a doorway where it is nothing short of a miracle that the wall above hasn't collapsed.

The lintel of this doorway has now been replaced, the stones reinserted above it, and pointed ready for drying out and plastering.

Work has also restarted in the eastern end of the moat, where a digger is lowering the basement ready for the building of the biomass boiler which will heat the castle.  All the wood for this biomass will come from the Estate's pine forests.  Similar boilers are already in use in the Estate's other castle at Glenborrodale and in many of the Estate's letting houses.

The digger driver today is Estate worker Angus-John Cameron from Portuairk.  Now there's a happy man: a nice warm cab beats chasing cows and sheep around Ardnamurchan's hills on a wet day.

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