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, 22 May 2014

Work on the North Range

Progress continues to be rapid on site, judging by the amount that's been done since I visited last week.  The emphasis seems to have shifted from the exterior - which was drenched yesterday in over an inch of rain in twelve hours - to the interior of the north range.  Of the nine men now on site, the most since building work started, two are in the chapel dealing with its ceiling.  Here, blocks of stone are being removed to allow plates to be bolted to the walls which will support lintels.  These will be inserted from one end and a damp proof membrane laid over them to keep out any water running within the walls; the space above will then be packed with masonry and mortar.

The chapel is within the nearly 3-metre thick north curtain wall.  In the few places where there are lancet windows let through the wall the lintels which have been inserted are of oak.  Above them is a damp proof membrane, and the space above it has been filled with broken slates from the original roof - again, to help block moisture moving down within the wall.

The lintels in the north range's wall which faces onto the courtyard are of reinforced concrete.  All these are now in place, so the structural strength of this wall has been hugely increased.

This is a view down the three chimneys in the western of the two interior walls of the north range.  The wall will be retained in the refurbished building, along with the three chimneys. However, one of the alterations includes a door which has to be cut through to the right of this picture, which will block the right-hand chimney.  As a result, the three chimneys, important because there will be open fires in all the rooms, will have to be fitted up the space originally used by two.

Visible to the left centre of this picture are two of the slots in the masonry of the exterior wall into which the original joists were fitted to support the wooden floor - in this case, of what will be the attic.  The new joists will be 1ft x 6", and won't be cut into the stonework so, as in the chapel, wall plates will be fitted which will carry the joists.  The laser level seen here has been used to mark the level of the proposed floor.

Pointing of the exterior has also continued.  Here the top of the semi-circular later addition at the angle between the east and southeast walls has been pointed, and it gives a good idea of what the exterior stonework will look like.

The steel girders that will support the flat roof of the biomass boiler house are being moved into position.  The area we are looking at here is the platform onto which the trucks delivering the wood chip will back before their load is tipped into the silo, which is just to the left of where the workmen are standing.

Many thanks, once again, to Mark Thompson and the lads for their patient explanations what's going on.

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