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.
Saturday, 8 November 2014
North Range Progress
Thursday mornings, when I usually visit the castle, have become one of the pleasures of the week, but Mark Thompson rang early on Thursday to advise me not to come: a near gale, a southeasterly blowing straight in to the castle from the Sound of Mull, was making the site dangerous. But what followed was almost worse, torrential rainfall which fell all afternoon and evening, leaving us swimming in over 83mm, over three inches, of water in a 24-hour period.
Despite these problems, work has continued at a brisk pace. On Thursday they had to work indoors, but most of the coping stones are now in place along the battlements, including those that cap the two bartizans, the small turrets at the angles of the curtain walls.
One of the big changes is that a temporary staircase has now been installed in the stairwell in the north range. While the wooden flights are temporary and will be replaced by magnificent oak structures, the floor levels will remain. The landings are by no means straightforward, as is shown by....
....this one, where the landing isn't at floor level, so an additional three steps have to be inserted, the angle between the supporting beams being held by a metal plate called a crank - the black thing at right.
Almost all the tracking for the oak panelling in the north range has now been installed, and the underfloor heating on the ground floor is in. As a result, the biomass boiler will be switched on next week, and the process of drying out the thick stone walls will begin. To speed the process, some temporary radiators may be installed on the upper floors.
Out in the courtyard, the stonework in the east range has been completed so the building is now waiting for its roof.
It may have been damp at the castle today but the mood on site was excellent, for good reason. On Tuesday they had a visit from the officers at Historic Scotland who are monitoring everything that is done to this listed monument, and the feedback was very positive.