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, 12 November 2013

Under the Weather

This picture was taken on Sunday, from Beinn na h-Urchrach, a ridge to the east of the castle.  It was a stunning Highland early-winter day, with light southeasterly breezes, wall-to-wall sunshine, and air so clear one felt one could reach out and touch the distant hills - that's the island of Coll, thirty-five kilometres away, lying along the horizon.

Since Monday, with the start of the working week, the wind has gone round into the west, freshened and brought in some stormy weather.  So this morning, when I went down to the castle to catch up with progress, the men were working in a stiff force four which gusted, in some vicious hail showers, to force five or six.

To add to builder John-Paul Ashley's woes, the dumper has broken down.  In normal circumstances, it probably wouldn't take long to get a piece of machinery like this fixed, but we're miles from anywhere, down a single-track road, so access to parts and servicing is a real problem.

As can be seen from this picture, these westerlies bring in as many sunny intervals as they do showers.  Scaffolder John Forsyth is back on site.  While he has more work to do in the courtyard, he's started by putting up scaffolding in a number of places so the the workmen can reach all the castle walls.  Yesterday he completed the scaffolding against the north range's western chimney - on the right in this picture - the only one of three which was still standing when the job started.  It will be stabilised and repointed as soon as possible.

Some of the men, including Johnny O'Neil, pictured here, are continuing the slow job of clearing the loose mortar from the exterior stonework, where they're exposed to the full force of the weather. To survive a working day in these conditions, it's essential to be appropriately dressed.

As I was leaving, the men were taking a well-deserved morning break in the portkabin, and what impressed me was the cheerful atmosphere as they sat around the table drinking their tea.

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