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, 20 February 2015

Scaffolding Collapse?

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, builder Mark Rutherford Thompson was almost thrown out of his bed by a crash which he immediately thought was the scaffolding collapsing around the castle - or an earthquake.  It was neither, but sound of the impact made by a 7,500 tonne freighter travelling at 12 knots as it struck the rocks at nearby Mingary Pier.  The Lysblink Seaways is now the subject of a major maritime accident investigation and a huge salvage operation.

Despite the excitement in the nearby community and the jam of heavy vehicles carrying salvage equipment coming down the local single-track roads, Ashley Thompson's builders have been working apace.  The slaters have been here since Monday, starting on the east range, which is nearly finished.  It'll take them another two weeks to finish both east and west ranges.

The slaters, like so many of the men working here, come from Yorkshire, and are intensely proud of the quality of their work.  Led by Mark Chandler (standing left), the team consists of his son Graham, who is a partner in the business, another son Brent, who has recently joined them, and Gareth.  It may be no coincidence that Martin Chandler, a joiner who has been working at the castle for some months, is Mark's brother.

One of the Chandlers' specialisms is leadwork, of which a considerable amount is needed in the intricate roofing of the east range and around the dormers in the west.  I asked Mark if he had a website.  He doesn't, and it's a credit to his team that they can work entirely by reputation - but if you're looking for a quality roofer, 07891 675 956 will reach him.  Not surprisingly, therefore, he and Mark Rutherford Thompson have been working together for some 25 years.

Each time I walk on to this site, I have my breath taken away.  The effects of the white insulation which is going into the walls on the north range is suddenly to make it look like a house, and no longer a dank, dilapidated stone castle.

There are other changes which enhance this impression.  One of the big rooms on the second floor has been subdivided to provide space for bathrooms, while....

....the two gable ends in the attic have now been rendered with a special plaster which will help to repel any water ingress.  Other than the curtain walls themselves, these two gable ends are probably the most exposed to the weather.

To follow the Lysblink Seaways salvage operation, try the Kilchoan Diary.


  1. Why was Mingary Castle stripped of its original building materials(thus making it a ruined shell) in the first place over 160 years ago?

  2. Why was Mingary Castle stripped and abandoned instead of be leased out to potential tenants?

  3. I presume the castle was in such poor condition by that time that it was uninhabitable. The materials which were stripped out of it were used elsewhere in the community. Although there's no evidence for it now as this building too has been demolished, one place where they were supposed to have gone is to the mill building in Kilchoan. Jon