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, 10 July 2015


As I walked down the access track to the castle yesterday morning I found Mark Rutherford Thompson, one of the partners in main contractors Ashley Thompson, hard at work demolishing a drystone field wall. He seemed to be concentrating unusually hard on the job - little wonder, since he'd just disturbed two adders.  Sophie the dog was obviously worried about him, so was keeping him company.

A road is being put through here to give access to the shoreline just to the east of the castle....

....partly to speed the removal of the lower levels of scaffolding, the last of which is being dropped next week, and partly to give access to the dolerite sill below the castle, at the corner on the shingle beach, where further engineering work has to be done to prevent future erosion undercutting the castle walls.

The approach to the castle has changed dramatically since last week. As I approached, heavy equipment was moving round in the yard in front of the castle, where....

....all the offices, storage containers, loose building materials and temporary caravans have been removed since last week to allow work to start on landscaping the area.

Keeping this build supplied with materials has been one of the major headaches for the contractors.  It hasn't merely been a matter of ordering things so they turn up when they're needed, nor has it been the fact that they couldn't just pop down the road to get a part from the nearest DIY store - it has been the ravages caused by shifting everything down the local winding, potholed, single-track road that connects us to 'civilisation'.  This package contained the beautiful Carrara marble surface and surround for the bath in the attic - and one of the pieces has broken in transit.

Within the courtyard, the front doors for the east and west ranges have been fitted, as have three of the internal doors....

....while joiner Martin Theaker was fitting the door between the breakfast room and the kitchen, a top-quality oak door supplied by Gary Bibby joinery.

Chris took me up to the dry store, which is a couple of hundred yards from the site, to show off the superbly hand-crafted lead downpipes and hoppers which will be fitted to the courtyard facades of the three interior building once they have been harled.

While Mark has been demolishing a stone wall, stonemason Damien has been building a new one. He's just finished a length of wall that runs round the entrance to the area that was being cleared by DA Boyd's Martin Newton a couple of weeks ago just to the east of the castle.

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