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, 24 April 2015

Specialists on Site

This build never did hang around, but the pace on site yesterday was, if anything, more energetic than ever, an impression heightened because the resident building team has been joined on site by three specialist contractors.  That said, the first thing one notices on approaching the castle is stonemason Damien who, having finished raising the retaining walls at the east end of the moat, is now deep in the moat itself building a stone facing wall on the side of the biomass boiler house. This time he's using mortar - it's a big wall!

While work is continuing within the breakfast room and above the west garderobe, the first contractor I met was Alex Millson from Leeds, who is contracted by Aberford Interiors to fit their top-end kitchens.  He was working in the main kitchen at the east end of the North Range, a room in which the plaster is still drying on the walls.

Alex runs his own business, Millson Joinery, and has worked in France and New Zealand as well as all over the UK - amongst other talents, he speaks fluent French and is a trained shipwright.  He's been at Mingary since Monday and said he would be finished by the end of the day - though he'll be back to fit more units in the kitchenette and utility in the East Range.  Like so many of the skilled people working on the castle, he doesn't have the need for his own website, but can be contacted at

In the other main ground floor room, which will be the dining room, plasterers Neil, Jess and Dave were still on site.  They were hard at work on the ceiling, two of them moving round the room on stilts.  The exposed beams will be panelled in due course.

In bedroom 2 on the second floor I renewed the acquaintance of Gary Bibby (left) of Gary Bibby Joinery, whom we last saw up here in January.  Gary's been busy making the oak panelling that will be fitted into several of the rooms - full panelling in the dining room and sitting room, and half height 'dado' panelling in the bedrooms, office and stairwell.  The first panels, for the sitting room, are already built - though after today's visit and a re-measuring of the rooms, a few modifications will have to be done.

He's seen here with 'resident' joiner Martin Theaker who will be fitting the panels as they arrive.  The panels are unstained oak and will come with just a coat of Danish oil. They'll be delivered room by room in sections - because access is so limited - and it'll be Martin's job to assemble them, a task he says he's looking forward to.  The sitting room panels will be here in a week or so.

Up in one of the attic rooms John-Paul was working on the dowelling on the corners, preparatory to plastering this room, but.... the other main attic room Neil and his men have finished the plastering, and one can see.... the doweling works.  All this needs now is a bit of builder's caulk to fill the gap between wood and plaster, some paint, and the job's done.


  1. Hi Jon,
    I have a question that I want to ask you regarding the West Range. I was looking at the picture of how it was before it was rebuilt. I see two square sections that looks like a staircase on the lower right hand side of the chimney. Are those the old Kitchen Range? If so, will they be restored as a reminder of its past or will it be covered up with Plaster boards? Here is the link:

  2. I don't have an immediate answer for you but will ask when I'm next at the castle. Jon