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, 5 November 2015
Tides Make their Mark
This morning's low, grey overcast did nothing to hide how well the area in front of the castle is coming on. The soil between the paths in the formal garden has now been weeded and sown to grass seed and, out of shot to the right, the stone wall that will run down the west side of the area is well advanced. This picture also shows piles of cement bags on pallets which tell another story, of delay.
The cement should have arrived on Saturday, enabling the men working on the wall at the bottom of the cliff to make progress with the job over the weekend before the tides moved so that they are high during the day - but they didn't arrive until Tuesday.
All along, one of the most intractable problems with this job has been the site's remoteness. This cement, being a special salt-resistant formula, had to come up from the southeast of England to Glasgow, from there to Oban, and thence to Fort William before being delivered, but time was lost along the way. As a result, the four men working on the wall - Damien, the two Chrises, and Richard - have been sent off for a short holiday, to return to work as the tide becomes favourable. Unfortunately, this seems to coincide with a deterioration in the weather.
Similar distance-related problems are evident in the north range, where the fitting of the panelling continues. When a section, such as this door, doesn't fit, in other circumstances it would have gone back to the manufacturer to be altered, but at this distance this would cause further delays, so the alterations are being done on site. Fortunately, there are two joiners here, the two Martins, who are well able to do the work - picture shows joiner Martin Chandler, right, and builder Mark Rutherford Thompson working on the door.
Despite these problems, the panelling does look superb, and will be one of the great features of the finished castle.
With the job moving towards completion, some of the contractors are reaching the end of their work. Proficient Plumbing of Whitby's Paul Beamer (right) and Ashley Rose are here to make one or two further alterations before the hot water is turned on later today, and don't expect to have to come back except for one final visit to pick up any minor problems.
This is one part of the job which Paul particularly likes, the bathroom set into the original mediaeval chapel of the castle, located within the north curtain wall. It's certainly must be one of the most unusual settings for a bathroom.