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.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Fighting the Storms

If builder Mark Rutherford Thompson doesn't look too happy, he has good cause.  Last week was a dreadful week, with severe gales, heavy rain, hail, sleet and snow and, to add to the fun, frequent lightning strikes which have brought eleven power outages, some of them as long as nine hours.

Trying to keep a project like this one going in such conditions takes patience and determination from both Mark and his partner in the business, John-Paul Ashley.  The high winds have rocked the Estate caravans in which they and their men are living, making sleep nigh-on impossible.  The power outages mean that there's no hot water for showers at the end of a cold and wet day, no hot food, and no heat to keep them warm.

Despite this, the team has kept working, and it's easy to see some of the results.  In the west range the first floor joists are now in place as well as, to the left of the picture, the huge oak beams which hold up the fireplace and an alcove.  This room has more than one fireplace - it was, at various times, a kitchen and a forge.

The gap in the centre of the photo is where an early flight of stairs rose from the courtyard to the battlements, but these were largely removed when this range was originally built.

The other room on the ground floor in the west range is much smaller.  A new floor has been installed, as well as the joists for the first floor. Billy, one of the workmen, is seen here standing next to what will be a feature fireplace.

Even though the gales were mainly from the west, conditions on the exposed castle site were extreme - yet only one area was damaged.  The picture shows what's left of the temporary roof on the biomass boiler.  This was ripped off by the wind, allowing water to get into the hopper - at the near end in this picture.  As a result, some 30 tonnes of wood chip was soaked, and the boiler went out.

Despite this, the main range remains warm, but a priority now is getting a roof back over the boiler house, digging out the soggy chipping, and getting the boiler fired up before everyone leaves on Wednesday for their well-deserved Christmas break.

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