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, 25 March 2014

Exterior Pointing Starts

We've seen - at last - some improvement in the weather, though we had a frost the other night which doesn't help progress.  With the pointing in the courtyard largely finished, John-Paul Ashley has been able to move his men to the next stage, the pointing of the exterior of the castle's great curtain walls.  Where they work is a bit of a moveable feast.  This morning they were on the north wall as we had a brisk southerly wind which was bringing in some showers.

Picture shows, from right to left, Matthew, Adam, Liam, John and Nick.

The condition of the mortar around each stone varies hugely.  For some, no attention is needed at all because the original mortar is fine, but in other places the mortar has all but disappeared.

This rough diagram shows, from top to bottom, the stages in filling a deep recess.  In 1 and 2, the crack is filled and the mortar allowed to go off at each stage.  The depth left at stage 2 is about 40mm, and in stage 3 this is overfilled to give a rounded profile.  When this has almost gone off - that it, hardened - it is then struck, quite briskly, with a stiff brush called a churn brush to form an angular profile.  The final, flat profile, comes when a soft, dry brush is used, and this gives the mortar a polish which brings out the texture of the mix.

J-P is seen here at the northeast corner of the castle, where he completed some sample pointing for inspection by Historic Scotland.

I think this is a good example of the very great care that's going in to the restoration of Mingary Castle.


  1. I can't believe the difference just pointing makes. It almost looks to be a dry stacked wall until it's pointed, and suddenly its a massive solid structure again. I also wanted to say thanks for the fantastic photos. I follow your site more than the daily news. Keep up the great work.

  2. Many thanks for your kind comment. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to have been able to follow what's happened at Mingary over the past few months, and if I've been able to convey some of my excitement to others I'm very pleased.

  3. Great project guys,i hope the weather picks up for you now.PS needing any stonemasons?