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, 16 October 2014

Last Stage for the Curtain Walls

The intricate web of scaffolding that encloses Mingary Castle has just been added to.  Although most of the exterior of the great curtain walls has been pointed, the one area which remains is where the base of the walls sits on the top of the granophyre sill.  Not only does this have to be pointed but, to make absolutely certain that the castle will be stable into the next few centuries, further pinning has to take place at this level.

So scaffolder John Forsyth is back, inserting access ladders to the lowest 'lift' of the scaffolding - a 'lift' being a boarded walkway.  This lowest lift has been there since the scaffold was first erected, but hasn't been accessible.

Builder John-Paul Ashley demonstrates the scale of the task ahead: the base of the wall, thick and strong as it is, has taken 700 years of attack by the wind, rain and waves, so some of the holes are pretty deep.

As with everything on this site, once access is available work starts immediately.  Chris Taylor is seen here at the very beginning of the pointing job and, although it doesn't show in the photo, it was both windy and chilly in this exposed position.  The fact that the weather has remained fine through most of September and October has helped immensely, as can be seen in the progress made in other parts of the castle

It's possible to follow where stonemason Damien Summerscales has been by during the last week by the new pieces of stone that have been inserted into window and door surrounds.  This is the entrance to the chapel.

I caught up with Damien at the front to the north range, where he's working on the surround to the door that will be the main entrance to the building....

....while inside Nick Smith and Martin Theaker were starting to put in the fittings to which a complex steel framework will be attached.  The wood panelling of the formal rooms in the range will be fixed to this framework, behind which will be a layer of insulation and a space to allow the walls to breathe.  The biggest worry is that these walls are damp from hundreds of years of exposure, and it will take ages for them to dry out.

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