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.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Four Gables

Yesterday, with the sea millpond calm, we took a look at the castle from the sea side - and a very impressive sight it was, clad in its matrix of scaffolding.

The weather this morning was little different, dead calm with low clouds which were threatening rain.  From the point of view of the lads working on the castle, this sort of weather is bad news: the dreaded Highland midge is out in hoards.

The main emphasis of work at present is within the main, north building.  The westernmost gable end is now fully pointed under the temporary roof which should, in the next week or so, be coming off to allow the permanent roof to be built.

This is the western of the two interior gables, which used to reach up to roof height but was badly decayed.  It's been made safe and pointed, and a door is being inserted at what will be the attic floor level.  The plywood frame is temporary, allowing....

 ....the lads, working with stonemason Damien Summerscales (left), to rebuild the wall to roof height.

Scaffolder John Forsyth is back on site to move some of the scaffolding above the biomass boiler house, but he's also shifted the staircase in the main block from the west room into the area between the two interior gable walls, so it now goes up where the 18th century oak stairs once stood.  The picture is a view from the courtyard through the main entrance to the building.

The eastern of the two interior gables, which used to go up to the roof, now stops just below attic floor level.
I found archaeologist Kenny Macfadyen back on site today for the first time in some weeks - he's pictured working just outside the eastern gable end.  He's here to complete some elevations of the battlement wall heads and plans of the walkway that runs round behind them.

One part he's working on is the northeastern corner where, between the battlements and the roof, there's a rather fine walkway formed of slabs of a metamorphic rock called schist.  This has been covered over during the winter.

And this is an example of the sort of meticulous, detailed work he's doing.  It shows the same corner of the battlements, parts of which, Kenny says, are of original, mediaeval construction.  In due course, all these diagrams will be published in such a way that, with colour coding, we'll be able to see how these walls developed over time.

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