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, 21 January 2016

Working in the Cold & Wet

After last week's spectacular dawn, today's weather has turned nasty again, with southeasterlies gusting to gale force forecast to continue through the next two days which, along with the current low temperatures, is making outdoor work a misery.

Despite this, a great deal has happened since last week, with the drawbridge finally installed - the hydraulics have yet to be connected to the electric motor - and a very important visit from Historic Environment Scotland on Tuesday, when their officers inspected and passed all the work that's been done over the last two and a half years.

Although I was told that all the oak panelling is now on site, including the front door of the north range - pictured - I wasn't allowed inside. The job is now so close to completion that the builders don't want to spoil the impact the interiors will have when they're finished and and the place cleaned, which should be done in time for next week's visit.

Tim Birbeck from TSB Ironcraft has been here raising the levels of the iron railings and bannisters which were a few inches too low - picture shows the top of the stairway from the courtyard up to the battlements - and has also installed.... bars across those points along the battlements where people could, in their eagerness to enjoy the views, fall out. He'll be back as there are more of these fine railings to be installed in various other locations around the site.

While the joiners were hard at work indoors - two more have arrived on site to speed things up - the rest of the team - J-P, Chris, Richard and Damien - were out in the rain, wind and cold, building the stone facing for the sea wall. Over the weekend they finished the last pour of concrete, and now rocks which have been brought to the beach at the west side of the castle are being built up as a facing against the concrete wall.

In amongst the mortar between the rocks are steel strengthening wires, and there are also lengths of steel protruding from the earlier pours of concrete, all of which will stabilise and strengthen the stonework - the blog of 30th December shows engineer Brian Smith's drawings for the work. A mixture of concrete and gravel is then poured in behind the stone facing to bond it against the earlier concrete.

The wall built so far took two men a day and a half, and the job is going to become more difficult as they build higher, so there's an estimated eight weeks of work here, all of which is controlled by the weather and the tides.

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