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, 10 December 2015
Storms Batter the Castle
The weather has further deteriorated since last week's post, with a succession of gales coming in accompanied by heavy rain, lightning and hail. Last night's gusts blew one of the caravans in which the builders were trying to sleep off its blocks and did other damage. To make matters even more miserable, their sense of isolation has been deepened by the loss of their internet connection, they've lost their mobile phone signal because the mast on Mull is down, and their TV aerial has been blown away.
We've been recording winds of over 80mph at ground level on the peninsula, and as high as 116mph yesterday on the hilltops, so conditions at the moment really are extreme.
This hasn't stopped the men from TSB Ironcraft coming up to fit the six gates in the stone walls and the electric gate at the entrance to the car park. Seen working on the electric gate are Justin Hargreaves (left) and Keith Berry, for whom this is a first visit to Ardnamurchan, and....
....Tim Birbeck, who has been here before when he fitted the railings along the battlements and down the battlement access stairs.
With all the shuttering in place by the end of last week, Ashley-Thompson's men started the big concrete pour below the cliff on Saturday morning as soon as it was light. The tide was rising but, being neaps, shouldn't have caused them a problem. But the weather had other ideas, with a southwesterly gale developing and hammering their exposed position, bringing with it some 34mm of rain and pushing the tide so far up that, when they finally gave up, they were paddling around on the slippery wave-cut platform with their legs entangled in seaweed.
They got the job done beneath the west wall but, as can be seen, didn't start on the longer section below the southern wall.
With the weather forecast grim for this week, it was decided to send most of the men home for a break, to return next week when the winds are due to drop. They'll then be trying to get as much done as possible before they leave for their Christmas break next Friday.
With more panelling arriving all the time, Martin Theaker has been working on the short passageways which connect the western rooms to the stair well. He's seen here fitting one of the architraves on the end of the panelling.
Sandra Jeffrey is back for ten days working on the soft furnishings. This morning she was hand-sewing crewel work to the canopy of the big four-poster bed in the main bedroom, but she also has the curtains around all five four-posters to do, as well as the curtains on the windows.
The weather here changes by the moment. Blown along by a gusting southwester, the clouds suddenly cleared, the sun made a brief appearance, and the scene was magical.