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, 4 February 2016

Almost There....

On any normal building job, the conditions over the last week might have been terminal. Two major storms, Gertrude and Henry, have passed through. We've had winds gusting to 131mph a mile or so from Mingary; we've been pelted by rain, hail, sleet and snow; and then, yesterday, the sun smiled briefly, apologised, and disappeared again - so we're now back to rain.

Despite the extreme conditions, the damage on site has been minimal, with one exterior door torn from its hinges and the eagle blown off his plinth in the ornamental garden.  On the other hand, the workmen have suffered indirectly, with one of the main mobile (cellphone) systems down for over a week, no internet, and their caravans battered for hours almost every night by the wind. 

But progress has been such that, despite the storms, Holly and Chris Bull, the castle's managers, will be starting to move furniture into the three ranges early next week, after the builders have spent the weekend on the final small jobs and tidying up. Some major things will be completed later, like the sea wall, the drawbridge, and the lift in the dungeon/cellar, but the impression one gets as one walks around.... that the rooms in the main, north range are almost ready for occupation. In fact they aren't, with the first letting scheduled for mid-May, because there is still a huge amount to be done.

About half Sandra Jeffrey's curtains have been measured and hung, but all except those in the west range, in which the builders have finished work, have been taken down again and re-wrapped in polythene because there's still too much dust around. Picture shows Sandra working with joiner Martin Theaker. The painters and electricians are still on site, and there are one or two joinery jobs to be finished.

The period furniture, which has been in store on the Estate, will be coming in on Monday or Tuesday. This is the main lounge, which is complete. Coming in to it today from the cold and rain, it felt as warm as toast  - as much from the biomass central heating as from the feeling of warmth given by the magnificent oak panelling.

This is one room which is really is finished. It's the bathroom for the second bedroom in the north range, built inside the great curtain wall.

Various jobs have been finished off outside as well. For example the iron safety bars have been fitted in the crenellations along the battlements, the work done with all the neatness that has been characteristic of this build.

This neatness and attention to detail is even reflected in those materials which are no longer required and are beginning to be moved off site.

Readers will have noticed that a flag is flying at the masthead on the north battlement. It's the Yorkshire flag, and it deserves to be there because it has largely been Yorkshiremen like builders Mark Rutherford Thompson (left) and John-Paul Ashley who have survived for two and a half years in very difficult circumstances to make the Trust's dream of a refurbished Mingary Castle become reality.


  1. They and all the others involved can be justly proud of the remarkable achievement demonstrating wonderful skills and two and a half years dedicated work

  2. It looks absolutely amazing....well done!! *Shaz*

  3. It looks amazing!! Well done!

  4. Riktigt starkt arbete av samtliga, men särskilt de svenske ;)


  5. .....which, according to Google Translate, means, "Really strong work done by all, but especially the Swedes," a reference, I presume, to the Swedish volunteers who were so generous with their time when they worked on the castle - see link