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, 1 October 2015

Autumn Mists

Thick mist blanketed the site this morning yet people commuting in to work from outside Kilchoan were reporting bright sunshine a few miles up the road. This must have been the sunniest week of the summer, even though we're now well into autumn, and it has enabled the builders to press on with outside work such as the formal gardens at the front of the castle.

This is a view of the area in front of the castle taken from the top of the north curtain wall, with the moat just visible at bottom left. The strange structure with the green roof....

....was built a week or so ago when the forecast was - incorrectly - for rain, and was designed so the stonemason could work on the arch in the dry. In the event it's acted as an awning, and the stonemason hasn't been able to work up a suntan.

Several of the blocks from the original arch were missing, so Damien has been fashioning them from the bottoms of the stone pillars which are being erected at the entrance to the castle. The four stones seen here forming the lower part of the arch are originals, while the four down the sides were made on site.

Each week seems to see the arrival of a new specialist contractor, but this week there was a welcome return by Dave Morris, managing director of Design Glass and its sister company Touchstone, with his team, Alex Bottomley and Andy Mitchell, to fit the three 'windows' between the breakfast room and the courtyard. Like the little windows they installed here previously - see earlier entry here - these ones are beautifully crafted and were being installed with great attention to detail.

Builder John-Paul Ashley showed me round the west range, which is now close to completion. The internal stairs are now in, as is the fire alarm system, and upstairs....

....where the skirting are now in, one begins to get an impression of what the rooms will be like once the job is done. This is the bedroom, with the steps at the far end leading up to the bathroom.

While the west range was originally planned to be the managers' quarters, it will now be part of the letting space of the castle, so it can be booked separately from the main range for longer or shorter stays.

Many of the rooms in the north range are still awaiting the arrival of their oak panelling, so little work was happening there this morning, the exception being the electricians Tigger and Brett, who estimate that perhaps 80% or more of the second fix is now done.

Another area which is approaching completion is the attic, where the three doors have gone in. This is a pleasantly bright area of the main range, with its two bedrooms and a bathroom between, and easy access out onto the battlements.


  1. Hi Jon, were there any plans for the fire place on the second floor to be used as well? How come it was covered up? Here are 2 pictures of it:

  2. No, no plans for it to be used - along with many other fireplaces in the three buildings. Jon

  3. Too bad the other fireplaces are covered up. But they would have made things interesting as they have a story to tell. Although, I understand why its better not to see some of them in use as most of the fireplaces are a direct cause of fire hazards, which in turn are responsible for a lot of country houses to go up in flames in the past. It does take a lot of money to maintain a fireplace than for a heating system that makes a fireplace rather redundant...

    Do you agree?