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, 26 November 2015

The Longest Wall

When I arrived at the castle Damien the wall-building machine was hard at work on the stone wall which runs down the west side of the gardens in front of the castle. He says it's the longest straight stone wall he's ever built. Chris measured it at something over 50 metres.

Indoors, builder John-Paul Ashley, who is a plasterer by trade, was working his way round the buildings touching up those places on walls and ceilings which have been damaged, for example where the electricians have had to move a light.

This sort of work, and the presence of the plumbers who are sorting out one or two problems, is a sign that the job is moving steadily towards completion, but there are some things which are less easily fixed.... the persistent leaks around the lancet windows. J-P says there is very little they can do about these as the great stone curtain walls are at their thinnest here and, although all the rocks of which they're made have been carefully re-pointed, the wily Ardnamurchan rain will continue to find its way through.

The lovely oak panelling continues to arrive steadily and, as fast as it comes, it's fixed into place. Last week these panels which line the stairs had just arrived. They're in place now, and this section of stair will be finished once the skirtings appear.

Fitting each section of panelling in the north range is a laborious job. This picture looks from the stairs into the entrance to the sitting room, which is a passage as it passes through one of the original, thick stone walls. Getting the ceiling panel to fit has involved constant trial and error, followed by....

....the careful shaving of thin slivers of wood by Richard, left, and Martin, and then trying again. It's not that the panels weren't correctly measured to start with, more that they are being fitted in an old stone building where few lines run true.

As I left it had begun to rain again - we had over an inch of rain on Monday - but the men working with Damien on the wall were still hard at it. This is one of them, Chris, who has been at the castle now for almost a year and a half. Like so many of the permanent workmen, he's from Yorkshire, and has had to get used to being far from home and working in difficult conditions. I admire their grit.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't the persistent leaks around the lancet windows be fixed with a protective water proof membrane around it, along with reinforced concrete lintels to make the inner lancet windows thick enough to keep the water out? The reinforced concrete lintels could be shaped in the form of a outer lancet window that could be fitted onto the protective water proof membrane and the window itself. Might be worth asking J-P about that idea..