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.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Chain Gang

No-one has contradicted my statement that this is currently the biggest and most complicated scaffolding job in Scotland, maybe even the UK, and logistically the most challenging since it has been erected in such a remote place.  Running out of one vital component out here could be a disaster, as the nearest supplier is probably in Glasgow, some four hours drive away - if the A82 is open.

Another thought is how all the thousands of pieces that make up this three-dimensional jigsaw have got themselves into their allocated places.

Getting materials down is much easier than getting them up, as gravity does the hard work.  This fancy shute has been installed recently to direct all the earth, vegetation material, loose mortar and half a tonne of bird droppings from the battlements into a trailer.

Getting materials up is a different matter.  Although there's an electric winch which takes up some of the small, heavy pieces, all the hundreds of long things, like scaffolding poles and boards, have been lifted by the so-called 'chain gang' method - or vertical manpower.  These lengths of wood, called tile battens, are on their way up to the temporary roof that's going on the north range, so they have to be lifted to the highest level, which takes five men and a lot of cheerful shouting.

At least the weather on site today was lovely, wall-to-wall sunshine, hardly a breath of wind, and 15C in the shade.  Tomorrow is one good reason for the men to be hurrying to get the temporary roof fixed - it's forecast to rain, and the wind's getting up.

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