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, 18 March 2014
Rain clouds were massing over Mingary Castle this morning when I arrived to see how the builders were getting on. The west coast of Scotland is renowned for its dreach weather, but this winter has been miserable enough to try the patience of any builder. Yet I found John-Paul and his men as cheerful as ever, if frustrated that the almost continuous rain prevents them from getting on more quickly.
There are plenty of signs of progress. A start has been made on the pointing work on the main building, the 'north range'. The west wall of this building is relatively sheltered, so Richard has begun the job here - though he had to give up as the expected rain arrived and water began to run down the stonework.
The scale of the task is illustrated by this section of the wall at the east end, where the tape measure shows a gap which is just on 60cm deep. The stone immediately above where the tape goes in is completely loose and can be lifted out.
Despite this, whole sections of the wall are in very good shape, with some very old but perfectly stable harl - exterior plaster - still there to protect it.
Humphrey, one of Ardnamurchan Estate's two deer hounds, was very much in evidence this morning. He usually hangs around the Estate office and I had assumed he was here to escape the meeting which was happening between the Trust, its architect Francis Shaw, and representatives of Historic Scotland. The latter are here as part of the ongoing discussions about various aspects of the building work, and these are taking time. Since work can't proceed until Historic Scotland are happy, it's another area where John-Paul is having to be patient.
Humphrey's presence had nothing to do with the meeting. He was waiting patiently in the hope of seeing one of the builder's dogs which was on heat.
As I was leaving I noticed this tiny flower growing between the stones near the entrance to the car park. It's scurvy grass, growing in the most difficult of places - it's probably been run over by several builders' trucks - but it seemed to illustrate that, with patience, one can succeed in even the most trying circumstances.