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, 4 June 2015


After yesterday's beautiful early summer day, which cheered everyone immensely, we're back to grayer weather but, with the tide low, it was possible to get round on the beach below the castle to take pictures of the emerging structure.

No more of the scaffolding is down, but the south curtain wall was cleared earlier so that....

....the steel frame for the viewing platform, accessed from the courtyard through the water gate, could be assembled on the foundations prepared by Ashley Thompson's men.  Manufactured by Glendale Engineering of Wooler in Northumberland, just south of Coldstream, it's being assembled on site by....

....another of the small, independent companies of which we've seen a number working here. This is Donkin Engineering, run by father Rob (left), and son Graeme Donkin.  Their normal work for Glendale is in agricultural machinery, such as cattle rams, so this job is quite a change for them.  But it hasn't been easy - the position is steep and very exposed to the weather.

The colour will be changed to blend in to the surroundings.

At the top of the castle, more steelwork has been going in - the railings along the top of the facade of the north range and along the inside of the battlement walkway.  Both have been manufactured by North Valley Forge....
....and are being installed by a couple of their men, Craig McLoughlan (second from right) and Steven Haycock (right), along with Sebastian Evans (left) and Tim Birbeck of TSB Ironcraft of Rishton, Lancashire.  The uprights holding the railings are set in 200mm deep holes drilled into the underlying stonework, which makes them pretty firm, but the setting is further strengthened using a material called Chemfix.

They'll be finished by the end of the week but will go home with templates for the sections of railing along the steep stair down to the courtyard, which will then be manufactured - so we'll see them back in the next few weeks to complete the job.

Meanwhile, Ashley Thompson's men keep hard at work at the many tasks which still have to be done. 'H' continues to lay the Caithness stone tiles in the intramural passageways: he's seen here working his way along the chapel floor.

Stonemason Damien (right) and Billy are in the moat strengthening the base of the north curtain wall, along an area which couldn't be reached while the scaffolding was in place.  They're having to rebuild large sections which have badly deteriorated over the years.

The project's architect, Francis Shaw, has been on site for a couple of days, and while I was talking to him a sea eagle flew across the front of the castle.  Along with the dolphins which visit the bay immediately in from of the castle, watching these magnificent birds will be one of the features for anyone renting the castle in the future.

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