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, 29 November 2014

North Range Revealed

I was late going down to the castle this week so missed what should have been a champagne event - the dropping of the scaffolding on the courtyard side of the north range.  To make matters worse, after a week of fine weather it was overcast today, so this picture hardly does justice to the facade of a building which has reappeared in its early 18th century magnificence.

There's still some way to go however.  The windows have a couple of layers of paint to go on them, which will be a slightly lighter shade of grey, there is some leadwork to be completed, and....

....the York stone cappings on the gable ends, seen finished at this end, are still being worked on....

....a job which Damien, Callum and Bonsai were at as I made my way round the scaffolding.

Watching them made me appreciate again how much physical labour has gone in to this build.  The slab they're placing in position was lifted from the forecourt to the scaffolding stage using a manually-worked pulley, then manoeuvred around the scaffolding, over the battlements, and up the roof by hand - and all of this with the usual cheerful good humour that is typical of this site.

The last three weeks' fine weather has helped, so there have been great steps forward in many areas in the last ten days.  The beautiful paving formed of overlapping black so schist which ran along between the back of the north range and the north curtain wall has now been covered with a screed and sealed so, although it could have been a real feature, it is, at least, carefully preserved.

There's a chill wind blowing today so I popped into the north range to warm up, which took all of two minutes as the place is like an oven, so the walls are now drying out nicely.  Even the chapel, which was very damp when I last saw it, is making progress.

Meanwhile, in the courtyard, 'H' is working on the west range.  This part of the project has been delayed by a problem with the supply of York stone, and some of the blocks that have now arrived have been damaged in transit - another example of how the location of this build have made the logistics so much more difficult.

One of the things that's so impressive about the site is that, while progress continues to be rapid, relatively few men are working here.  Obviously, it needs several men to shift these blocks of stone into position, but once they're there 'H' is left to get on with mortaring them into position.

1 comment:

  1. Its wonderful that the castle is being reborn but I'm sorry some of the charm and wonder of being able to be in a building of that age and history is being lost. Its a real shame the paving on the battlements is now covered, it could be any roof anywhere. And I was very dismayed to read the chapel is going to be turned into bathrooms. Anyone who has any love of archaeology and loves discovering old secrets and treasures, that hidden space is so magical. As it is the original build, it really holds a fascination which I would think is one reason someone would want to rent the space to start with. If its all made too current and usual, then what's the point of going there verses any place that one might let? Oh well the most enjoyable part of your blog was the first year and all the dig details. What happened to the lady who was dating the wood? Was she given the old lintels from the chapel? Thanks for keeping us updated, its been fascinating reading.