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, 14 January 2014
Lancet Window Revealed
This was the view looking southeast as I approached Mingary Castle around nine this morning, very much looking forward to seeing the progress on excavating the passageway and rooms within the north curtain wall.
Using a small pneumatic drill to loosen the blocks of stone that have been mortared into the space, John-Paul Ashley's men have worked their way a further two metres, so it's slow going. They're now standing in what is recognisably a room, with a stone floor - covered by a sheet of plywood to protect it - an oak ceiling - now lost - and stone walls. But what's most exciting is that they've finally exposed the back of the first of the lancet windows, visible in the above picture just to the right of the Acrow prop.
This is a view of the window from the other side. I'm anxious to see it opened up, so we can look out of a window last used some 500 years ago, but stonemason 'H' is cautious, as the sandstone blocks of which the window's frame is made have been eroded and weakened by centuries of fierce Ardnamurchan weather. I'm suspicious that the real reason is that, with the window blocked, it's warm in the space in which they're working.
This view of the north curtain wall shows where they've got to, a metre or so to the right of the lancet window at top left. Between there and the double lancet window lies the small room which has been cut into the wall from the stairwell side.
Archaeologist Andrew Morrison is seen here standing in what was the stairwell. He believes that this cubbyhole was cut into the north wall long after the intramural rooms were blocked up, perhaps in the c1700 refurbishment.
'H' is drilling somewhere behind Andrew's head, working his way towards the cubbyhole. From the plans, the double lancet window is to the left of the cubbyhole, and the passageway is believed to stop there, but it may well extend beyond it.