Saturday, 3 September 2016

St Comghan's Repairs

The work on the old parish church, 13th century St Comghan's, which is located at the back of Meall mo Chridhe, has now been completed. The scaffolding has gone, and....

....the safety fence which surrounded it has been removed.

The saga began when Highland Council, which owns the site, closed off the entrance to the church when cracks were identified in the stone lintel which were deemed a hazard.

Having obtained permission from Historic Environment Scotland - St Comghan's is a national scheduled monument - the lintel was supported by a steel bar and the internal wall behind it built up over new, greenheart oak lintels.

The three elegant, 18th century stone arches in the south facade, which the consulting engineer considered to be in imminent danger of collapse and far more at risk than the door lintel....

....have been re-pointed and, again, supported by new oak lintels upon which stonework has been built behind.

Historic Environment Scotland also permitted the builders to point the area round the stone window sills, one of which, seen here, had already broken.

Huge thanks to all concerned, including architect Francis Shaw, consulting engineer Brian Smith of Arc Engineers - both of whom gave their time for free - to the officers at Historic Environment Scotland who proved very understanding and paid the £4,000 the repairs required, to builders Ashley Thompson, to Highland Council, and to the many members of the community who supported the project.

The trouble with such an ancient and beautiful site is that there's always something else to be done. The wire round the top of the wall, which helps keep the neighbouring sheep out, has passed its best-before date. Many thanks again to Highland Council which, through our local councillor Andrew Baxter, has provided the materials to enable us to replace the wire. However, we have to do the work. Any help would be much appreciated.

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