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, 9 April 2015
Light in the Courtyard
At the time of last week's post, the weather had just made a change from a long winter into a late spring. The fine spell has stuck, so when we went down to the castle this morning it was bathed in sunshine.
On this visit, time was spent walking around the castle to obtain a feel for the amount of light that would get in to the living areas, which are all inside the high curtain walls. It's spring, and the sun will climb much higher as we move into summer, but even shortly after nine in the morning the courtyard is already filled with sunlight. In this picture, the west range is to the left, and the main, north range to the right.
The attic rooms are the only ones which are high enough to look over the battlements. As the sun moves round with the day, they'll receive plenty of sunshine and the view, on a less hazy day, across the Sound of Mull to Tobermory, will be spectacular.
The second floor windows too will receive plenty of direct sunlight, but their view is restricted to the courtyard. If, as is now planned, the walls of the interior of the courtyard are harled - that is, covered with a lime render which is full of small stones and pebbles - it'll be lighter still. Harling is used on most west highland houses in this area, and has another purpose, to help resist rainwater penetration.
Although deeper into the courtyard, the first floor windows also receive plenty of direct and reflected light. The latter is pleasantly warm from the colours in the local and York stones.
The big ground floor room will be darkest, but by late morning the sun will be shining straight into it. The completed courtyard terrace, paths and cobbled areas will provide plenty of interest in its outlook.
With much of the work on the interior fittings of the north range completed ready for the arrival of the plasterers and oak panelling, several of the workmen were sweeping it out, and while we were there the kitchen units arrived. Both of these gave us a feel that another milestone has been reached in the refurbishment of the building.
The stonework in the dungeon is now complete, so stonemason Damien has moved to the retaining wall at the east end of the moat. Tucked into the moat here is the biomass boiler which provides heat for the castle. Once the wall is raised and the roof of the boiler house completed, this building will, effectively, disappear underground.