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, 29 July 2014

Progress on Every Level

After almost 30mm of rain over the weekend, it was good to find the castle in bright sunshine for the start of the working week.

In this picture, taken from the northeast and looking across the Sound of Mull to Mull, the whole castle and its sheath of scaffolding looks as if it's leaning to the left.  This effect seems to be particularly evident in today's post, where several pictures show vertical structures - which the castle still is - appearing to lean perilously.

Once again, a huge amount has been achieved since my last visit.  Stonemason Damien, working on the interior gable, has cut through the roof timbers and is completing the chimney.  Working downwards from the roof....

....the first studwork has gone in at the west end of the second floor.  Builder Mark Rutherford Thompson told me today that some 43 tonnes of wood has been brought in to build the roof and the three floor levels, every bit of it carried in by hand.

At the east end, work has continued on the gable end, where a chimney has to be built up.  The door opening to the left is the one which, if you turn left, leads to the chapel, and....

....down the intramural passage to the first floor level if you turn right.  Here, because of the damage that was done to the interior part of the curtain wall when the chimney was put in early in the 18th century, the builders have had to insert concrete lintels rather than oak, as in the rest of the passage, and these....

 ....are visible in the back of the chimney, just to the left of the blue rope.

Meanwhile, on the first floor Nick is laying the plywood floor which will carry an insulated floor that will carry the underfloor heating.  At the rate they're progressing, they'll need the plumbers and electricians in soon to do their first fix.

On the ground floor, the old door between the main, west room and the back of the stairwell has been reopened.

For the last five weeks a group of Swedish students have been working on the castle.  They've turned their hands to anything they've been asked to do, such as shifting building materials, cleaning out rubble, and a bit of carpentry, but mostly they've worked steadily away at the pointing, with the result that it's now 90% complete.  Sara and Brask, on the left, are leaving tomorrow, both returning to their building conservation studies, while Lars (in red tee shirt) and Adam are staying on for four more weeks, which should see the pointing finished.  While the work hasn't always been easy, they've worked cheerfully at it and have a sense of achievement - that they've made a significant contribution to the restoration of this wonderful old building.

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