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, 19 November 2015

A Damp and Breezy Week

When Holly visited the castle last week Storm Abigail was imminent. While Abigail wasn't as wicked as forecast, she's been followed by three further gales, the last one yesterday, and the week has seen copious amounts of rain.  Another squall was moving up the Sound of Mull offshore of the castle when I arrived this morning, and a full-grown sea eagle, flying into the wind, was just passing overhead.

Work on the sea defences is at a temporary standstill, partly because the builders are waiting for the last pour of concrete to go off, but also....

....because they're having a bit of trouble with the machinery. In the normal way, a specialist contractor would be out within 24 hours to fix this tyre, but in this remote location J-P will have to wait three times as long.

So the men have been deployed to other work. Young JJ Dagnall has been banished to the dungeon where he's polishing the lime mortar pointing in somewhat unpleasant conditions. Like all good dungeons, this one is dark, damp, and has a persistent leak through the roof. When the job is finished, this will become the castle's wine cellar.

JJ has been over here for a few months following the completion of his apprenticeship in France, to gain some work experience. This has been pretty extreme experience by any standards, but he's done well and deserves the break he now plans to take, travelling in Europe.

Joiner Martin Theaker is about to start work fitting the panels which run up the lowest flight of stairs. These include the panels he's pointing to, which are being fitted instead of spindles below the banister. He showed me a drawing of what the staircase will look like once he's fixed all the panels in place, and it promises to be impressive.

Electricians Brett (left) and Tigger from R&B Electrical & Renewables are back, working in the bedrooms where soft furnishings specialist Sandra Jeffrey's crewel work panels have now been completed. All Sandra's curtains and bed hangings have arrived, so she'll be back shortly to hang them.

As well as light switches and wall sockets, Tigger and Brett are installing the light fittings. The bulbs they're putting into both chandeliers and wall lights are 50,000 hour LEDs but just in case the power goes off....

....they're also fitting emergency 7w LED downlights powered by batteries in what they call 'sausage packs', modelled here by Brett. The shape of the 'sausages' enables the pack to be pushed up into the ceiling, just above the light, and its batteries should keep the light burning for up to 24 hours.

I always report to the works office when I'm leaving the site, where I found Damien, Chris and John-Paul in their daily ten o'clock business meeting. When I asked Chris how they had fared in the recent miserable weather, he was up-beat: they had seen worse.

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