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, 9 January 2015

Back to Work

It was good to be walking down at nine this morning for the first visit in three weeks, even though the weather wasn't too special, with some sharp hail showers blowing in on a chilly westerly wind.

All seems to have gone well during the break, the only slight problem being that the biomass heating system struggled with the damp wood chippings, with the result that the north range hadn't dried out as much as builder Mark Rutherford Thompson had hoped.

Although they've been on site before, I had the first real chance to talk to Brett Ward (left) and Tony Tigger Peacock, electricians from R&B Electrical & Renewables, the company contracted to instal all the electrics in the castle.  They explained the difficulties of the job.  For a start, there's miles of wire to go in, but it's....

....working around the solid walls and through doorways with concrete lintels that are some of the real challenges.

Not only are they installing the power supply, they're also putting in the data services cabling.  In this alcove, the wires can be tacked onto the oak lintels, but coming down the walls they'll be buried behind plasterwork.

Gary and Tigger are going to be around for a couple of weeks completing the first fix, and will return later to finish the job.

I hadn't met Gary Bibby before, though some of his workmen were here last year installing the windows in the north range.  Gary has his own company, Gary Bibby Joinery, which will be making all the joinery for the north and east ranges.  This is a huge job.  For a start, all the rooms will be lined with panels or half panels, and the quality is going to be very high indeed - the woodwork throughout will be English oak.

As well as the panels, Gary's firm is making the staircases, and these are beautifully detailed.  The walls in the stairwell are going to be half panelled, as will be some other rooms, though the main living rooms will be fully panelled.

Gary will be working closely with the electricians, right, as all the wiring for the wall lights and electric sockets will have to be fed through the 18mm plywood which will be hung off the metal tracking, and then through an appropriate place in the panels - for example, not through a join between panels.

Gary's here for a couple of days measuring up, and then the panels will be built in his Yorkshire workshop.  When we see them, it'll be Ashley Thompson's men, including Martin Theaker (to Gary's right) who will be fitting them.

Before I left I climbed up to where work on the courtyard wall of the west range is continuing, with the window mullions of York stone going in.  It's good to see that all but one of the men who were working for builders Ashley Thompson have returned after the holiday - Damien and 'H' were working up here, with builder John-Paul climbing the ladder to join them.

We're all very aware that there's to be a serious deterioration in the weather tonight: an intense Atlantic storm is due to arrive in the early hours of tomorrow morning with gusts of hurricane force forecast to batter Ardnamurchan.  Other than checking the scaffolding and making sure that everything loose is held down, there's nothing more the builders can do in preparation for it.

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