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.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Bitter Winter Weather

This was the view this morning looking across the bay from Mingary Pier towards the castle, with Beinn na h-Urchrach, in a moment's unexpected sunshine, rising behind it.  The snow which blanketed most of the area by late yesterday afternoon, bringing some difficult driving conditions, has melted at lower levels, but an icy wind continues to blow from the southeast straight into the face of the castle, making working conditions on the exterior....

....very hard for people like stonemason Damien, who has taken over the rebuilding of one of the chimneys in the west range from 'H' who is away for a break.  The west range should be ready within a week for the roof to go on, while....

....the east range is ready and waiting for its roof.

Delays and difficulties are fully to be expected in a project as complex as this one, but the remoteness of the area magnifies them.  Chris is seen here with a hydraulic drill struggling to break down into the granophyre rock under the storage room below the west range.  The granophyre is the igneous rock of the sill upon which the castle sits, and is extremely hard - to the extent that they've wrecked four pneumatic jack hammers trying to get down 18".  Interestingly, there are more massive, harder areas and more shaley, friable areas - the white chunk Chris is working on is one of the harder.

Every time I visit the castle I'm amazed at how much shifting of materials has to be done by hand.  The rubble that's going into the floor of the chapel now that the plumbing's in has all come from where they're drilling in the west range, and has been carried in a bucket down a ladder and up two floors by Billy.

The electrical and plumbing contractors are still on site, with some of the workmen from main contractor Ashley-Thompson helping them.  At least the north range where they're working is warm, with the heating full on to speed the drying of the stone walls.

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