Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Turret Topping Out

There was a recent great day for celebration when the north-east turret of Balintore Castle had its final topping out i.e. when my roofer Andy had slated all the way from the bottom to the top. Hundreds of fish-scale slates had to be carved to replace those that were broken or missing. 

getting started : Ms. Balintore (1860) sports a 1980's ra-ra skirt
nailing on the tiny fish-scales slates at the very top
 toasting the turret with a West-Highland malt

Friends, who know of my low tolerance for alcohol, will be relieved to hear that I toasted the turret at a somewhat lower altitude! :-)

Thursday, 22 May 2014


I am always dreaming of finding treasure at Balintore Castle to aid in its restoration. This blog post amply illustrates the divergence of dreams and reality, as a recent discovery of a 1838 silver groat under the floor-boards is by far the nearest thing to treasure yet uncovered. Yet, a groat is worth a mere 4d in old money or 1.6 p in new. 

The date of 1838 is  interesting as it pre-dates the construction of Balintore Castle in 1860. So, one presumes it was in circulation for at least 22 years before being lost - most likely during the building phase itself. Queen Victoria looks very young, and indeed she only came to power in the preceding year of 1837.

Groats ceased to be minted in 1856, which is a great shame as a coin worth four-pence has great numismatic charm.

Balintore groat: reverse

Balintore groat: obverse

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Seven New Windows

Thanks to the carpentry skills of Bill Pitt and his posse in Kirriemuir, seven of the principal floor windows from Balintore Castle, have now been restored/rebuilt/replaced - depending on what was there, or not there, to begin with. These are all of the windows on the building's principal floor with the exception of those making up the dining room's oriel window. The oriel's super-structure collapsed about sixteen years ago, so this needs rebuilding before any consideration is given to re-manufacturing the three component sash windows which were crushed in the fall.

As you can tell from the photographs, the sash windows on the principal floor are enormous - the biggest in the castle. Five of us carried each window from the van to the drawing room, where they are now awaiting installation. For one of the windows I left the others to it, and recorded the trip in photographs. Knees were definitely buckling even more. 

I can barely wait for these windows to be installed as they will make a significant different to the look of the outside of the castle, and bring much needed light into the castle's interior - currently rather dark as the window openings are boarded up. 

Above all, I am looking forward to looking through the bay window in the drawing room, as the looks southwards across the Quharity Glen: the very view that caused the castle to be build in the first place, in its elevated position on the side of Cat Law mountain.

extracting the window from the van

frog-marching the window to the entrance

in through the entrance door

steering round a tight corner

bringing window to rest in the drawing room

pile of new windows in drawing room - awaiting installation