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, 12 February 2015

Courtyard Buildings Take Shape

The weather has been uniformly grey for the last week, but at least it hasn't rained too much and the temperatures have held up, so the builders have been able to crack on with the outside jobs; and this morning the sun came out, which cheered everyone up.

Mark Rutherford Thompson was in the office as I arrived, compiling orders for all the materials which will be needed once the panelling begins to arrive.  While he's found the suppliers in local town Fort William - two hours away down a single-track road - quite good, what has been trying is that an order will come in - delivery once a week - with everything except a couple of items, without which work on a particular job can't start.  So he's had to order from Glasgow, Yorkshire and as far a way as London to ensure that materials are on site ready for when they're needed.

The three 340kg York stone heads for the dormer window are in position and look magnificent.  Having rebuilt the scaffolding in front of the range, and added strengthened scaffolding platforms under each of the windows, it then took six men, a block-and-tackle, two days' work and, as Mark put it, "a lot of blood, sweat and tears," to get them into place. Each head sits on a wooden dowel set into the underlying stone lintel, and is held to the sarking (the roofing planks) by two L-shaped brackets.  Billy can be seen on the battlements at top left, finishing off the pointing of the two chimneys.

All that remains of the exterior work on this range is the leadwork and slates. The slaters should be here on Monday.

The exterior of the east range is also moving on fast.  The one external addition to the buildings in the courtyard is the room to the left of this picture, joining the original east range to the north range.  While in the early plans it was to have a glass roof, it will now be slated, but it'll still be a light room as the front will have three floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

At the back of this room, which will be the breakfast room, is the eastern of the two garderobes, originally open to the courtyard. This small room isn't going to change its function as it will be a toilet off the breakfast room.  Chris is seen here fitting the 175mm-thick floor insulation around the open garderobe hole which, to keep the drafts out, will be covered with a plate of glass.

Joiner Martin Theaker continues the work in the main range attic.  Most of the insulation is now in the roof, and he's seen here adding strengthening to the rafters for the shower cubicle.  Except where he's working, with the plumbers almost finished in here, plywood once again covers the rafters.

The electricians, Brett, left, and Tigger, are well on with the first fix in the west range, a job which should be finished in a week.  They're seen here in the sitting room of what is planned as the caretaker's house.  Asked what they have found most difficult working in such a remote place, they said the same as Mark: getting materials.  But they added that the other serious deprivation was being unable to go out for a curry.

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