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.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Atrocious Weather - but Work Goes On

By nine yesterday morning the weather had let up after a spell of some of the worst conditions we've seen on Ardnamurchan in some years.  In the last few days, as well as gales with winds gusting to over 100mph, hurricane force, we've had lightning, hail, sleet, snow, and one of the lowest barometric readings I have recorded here, 952mbar.

Not that this has deterred the builders: all they've done is to move from exterior jobs - some of which would have been dangerous in these conditions - to work which offers at least some shelter.  Picture shows stonemason Damien and Richard working in the courtyard, standing in front of the very smart door surround which will connect the main building to the glass-roofed dining room.

The two are now working on a toilet which, very appropriately, uses the original east garderobe.  The long drop below it will have a glass cover so users can admire the vertical view.

In this picture the two are preparing the roof so they can get insert more supports before they start work on its walls.  The picture is dark because a very black cloud had just arrived.

In another milestone for this project, the plumbers, from Proficient Plumbing of Whitby, Yorkshire, have arrived to start the first fix.  They were here briefly just before Christmas, when they installed the pipework for the ground floor underfloor heating.

Picture shows Ashley Rose, left, and Andy Stephens in what was the mediaeval chapel, where two bathrooms are being installed.

One of the more difficult aspects of their job is fitting some of the pipes between the metal tracking and the stone walls.  Ashley is seen here in one of the places where builder and plumbers are having to work together to get the pipework in.  The white pipes are for the temporary radiators, the black pipe is the soil pipe.

Meanwhile, joiner Martin is cutting grooves in the joists for the pipework for the central heating, which will be by radiators set under the windows.

By the time I'd walked over the north range and talked to the men working there, the weather was winding itself up for another storm.  The wind had moved round into the south and, while the rain was now pouring into the courtyard, one could hear the gale roaring across the battlements above.

Five of builders Ashley-Thompson's men are working on the east range.  They've managed to do only a little in the last week on the front face of the building, so....

....most of their efforts have been concentrated on the interior.  'H' is seen here rebuilding the stone chimney in what will be the sitting room for the housekeeper/cook if the castle becomes a letting property, while....

....Callum works to lower the floor in the basement room of the east range, which will become a store room.

By the time I left the castle the wind was gusting to a force 8, and the rain had given up trying to reach the ground and was travelling horizontally until it hit something.  Despite the appalling conditions, the spirit amongst the men working here is quite remarkable: they're getting on with the job, working hard as a team in the best of spirits.

Mark Thompson of Ashley Thompson arrived back on site as I was about to leave. He'd been off down the peninsula looking for two trucks carrying sbuilding upplies for the castle, both of which had 'got lost'.  One driver had spent a night trapped on Rannoch Moor in a snowstorm.

1 comment:

  1. Are you intending to leave exposed stone on the interior of the castle? I think that would be wonderful. I'm saddened to see so many castles with "modern" interiors, it seems to detract from the beauty of them.