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.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A Warm Heart Glows in the Castle

This smoke coming out of the top of a chimney at the top of the north range is a further major step in the process of turning this magnificent castle from a ruin into someone's home, because it's a sign that, for the first time in some 200 years, there's fire warming the heart of the building.

As you would expect, the heating system is very appropriate for a structure of this vintage, consisting of two cast-iron, solid fuel stoves which John-Paul Ashley of Ashley Thompson builders has been able to borrow locally.  The first is in the eastern room, next to the well, and the other.... in the western room.  As can be seen, there's no shortage of fuel for the stoves as the Ardnamurchan Estate has thousands of acres of coniferous forestry which is ready for felling.  A third stove will be joining these two shortly, a much bigger one which will heat the central section of the building.

The next great heating milepost will be when the woodchip boiler has been installed in the moat.  It will have the capacity to heat all three ranges.  And, looking beyond that, a moment will come when a great log fire is burning in one of the many original fireplaces in the building.

While some of the workmen have been enjoying the warmth while they continue with the repointing on the inside of the north range, John Forsyth, the scaffolder, has been outside in the rain, working on the final stages of this huge scaffolding job.  When he's finished the courtyard, every square inch of the castle's walls will be accessible from the hundreds of metres of walkway which now surround it.

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