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, 6 February 2015

Now It's Frozen Pipes

As forecast, the weather has been even colder this week than last.  We've had hail and snow brought down on a bitter northerly airstream, and a nightly ground frost, with the temperatures only beginning to rise on Thursday.  Picture shows Mingary Castle from the hill to its northeast, with the Kilchoan-Tobermory ferry at Mingary Pier.

Not that four mornings of frozen pipes - meaning that blow torches had to be used to clear them - and miserable outside working conditions seem to have dented these men's cheerfulness.  John-Paul Ashley, left, and Mark Rutherford Thompson of Ashley Thompson are the main building contractors for the project and are maintaining a cracking pace with their workmen.

The roof on the East Range, with the new, connecting room shown here, is now on, and....

....joinery specialist Martin Chandler - seen on the ladder in front of the West Range - who has built all the roofs, was due to be away at the end of the day.

This leaves the builders to lift the three 340kg Yorkshire stone heads for the West Range's dormer windows into position.  Since there isn't, and never has been a crane in the courtyard, they will have to be lifted and fitted using a block and tackle and manpower.  They're an awkward shape to lift - it took five men just to raise them enough to get the packing off.

Meanwhile, in the North Range, work continues on the joinery and insulation of the attic rooms.  James McGinley has recently joined the workforce.  He comes from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire.  His father's family was from Scotland, but it's James' first time in the country.  He hasn't worked on anything like this project before and has one word for the castle, the views and the job - "Phenomenal!"

Martin Theaker has been fitting the cabinets in the window alcoves.  In the style of the early 18th century, shutters will go above them.

Tigger Peacock is seen finishing what is almost the last of the plumbing first fix in the North Range.  The plumbers will then move in to the West Range to start work there.  The electricians have some days of work to do before they can move across the courtyard.

Despite the dire weather, everyone's spirits remain high, so my Thursday visit continues to be a great pleasure.

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