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, 14 January 2016

Crewel Work and Fettling

A different sort of winter has arrived, bringing clear skies and frosts accompanied by light flurries of snow and occasional rather heavier falls of hail. This picture shows the castle at nine this morning, with the sun rising behind it over the hills of Morvern, while....

....this was taken from the northeast a few minutes later, with the early light picking out the ancient stonework of the curtain walls. Beyond the castle lie the waters of the Sound of Mull, with the low-lying Isle of Mull in the distance.

The castle is an exciting place to be at the moment. Yes, conditions for the workmen are still hard, with the water pipes frozen this morning so the resident Yorkshiremen couldn't make their early morning cup of tea - a serious matter - but with the end really is in sight. The job should, all being well, be finished in a few weeks' time, so the men are cracking on with their work.

This picture shows the sea wall with the latest pour of concrete completed. It went in on Sunday and it's already gone off. However, they can't make further progress this week as the tides are at springs, but they only have one more level to build, about another metre high, for this part of the job to be finished. Then they have to clad it in natural stone.

This was one of the highlights of today's visit, seeing Sandra Jeffrey with her completed master bed. It's now a proper four-poster, with crewel work curtains to close it in, though these can easily be removed if a visitor prefers, while....

....this is the view up into the canopy. The work has been painstakingly done, and these beds - there are four others which will be similarly clad - will be a feature of the castle.

I had never heard of fettling, but this is a fettler. Richard has been given the job of going round all the panelling and other joinery and, using planes, chisels and sandpapers, smoothing off all the rough edges. The word is usually applied to the same task in iron working.

Richard is working here on the panelling on the stairs. Just about all the panelling has arrived and been fitted, but the last, including the front door of the north range, is due to arrive on Monday and, to push the job to its end, two more joiners will be coming with it.

Builder Mark Rutherford Thompson is rarely seen sitting down on the job but he was needed to model the bathroom screen in the attic, which is one of those glass partitions which, at the flick of a remote control button....

....becomes opaque.

At times there is a slightly uneasy juxtaposition of the very old and the latest technology, but things like dimming lights, high-speed broadband, remotely controlled heating with thermostats in every room, and cutting-edge bathroom fittings are what the clients will be expecting.

The west coast of Scotland rarely sees much snow lying for any length of time at ground level due to the influence of the warm sea, and this effect is shown in this picture, taken from Mingary Pier. To the right is the hill called Beinn na h-Urchrach, which was clear of snow yesterday evening.

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