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.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Temporary Roof Removed

Approaching the site this morning it was immediately obvious that the temporary roof which was put on the 'north range', the main building in the castle courtyard, has been removed, so that....

....from the top lift of the exterior scaffolding one can now look across what will be the attic floor of the refurbished building.  The archaeologists had been here earlier in the week finishing the drawings of the parapets, so the builders have now been able to clear them completely, exposing the slabs which form the walkway round the roof.  These are formed of a metamorphic rock called schist: there are outcrops of this type of rock a few miles to the east of the castle.

Work will now progress quickly on building up the interior structural walls and the end gables so the permanent roof can go on.  We've had a run of fairly dry weather so conditions are good at the moment - but the local weather is famously fickle.

Builder Mark Rutherford Thompson was kind enough to show me the work that's been going on in the intramural passageway which runs through the east wall.  Readers will recall that the steps up from the first to the second floor had been blocked with rubble when chimneys were built in to the east gable end of the 'north range'.  This has all been cleared - picture looks up the passage from the first floor up to the second floor, from which a left turn takes one into the chapel.

Looking in the opposite direction, into the small semicircular room which has the round musket ports, I could see where the builders have been replacing the oak timbers which form the roof of the passage.  In the foreground are the old timbers, and the new timbers now go round into the small room. What's been done so far illustrates the time-consuming nature of this sort of work: replacing the timbers in the room and a short section of passage has taken three men - a stonemason, a carpenter and a workman - a whole week, as the walls had to be built up and then every section of oak timber had to be cut to exact size so it fitted into its place.

The oak that has been removed has been neatly laid out near the castle entrance.  It's in remarkably good condition, considering that it may be the original oak that was built into the passage when the walls were first raised some 700 years ago.

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