The seaboard castles of Mingary and Tioram are situated on the Ardnamurchan Peninsular and it would be difficult to imagine 2 more attractive settings.
Both date from the 13th century but whereas Mingary is undergoing restoration, all attempts at Tioram have been abandonned and the castle left to the elements.
Responding to an invitation from The Mingary Castle Preservation and Restoration Trust, members of the SCA took the opportunity to visit both it and its nearbye sister of Tioram.
Restoration began at Mingary in 2013 and from what we saw it is very close to completion.
Attempts to restore Tioram ceased in 2002 after a public enquiry, leaving the castle in a precarious state.
Mingary Castle - Left: Sea wall and gate. Right: Land wall and gate
Why has Mingary succeeded where Tioram has failed? Well, here it was ruled that restoration was ‘in the public interest’. That, and the fact that it was self-funded with a guaranteed future, tipped the scales. Mingary is being restored to its Georgian state which will allow it to stage events and to be let for occupancy. The whole is being done to a superb standard and we were impressed by what we saw. The castle will be open to the public on special days.
Tioram is more remotely situated on a tidal island which in itself is a hindrance to restoration. A void in the sea wall is supported by a steel jack but this can only be regarded as a short-term expedient.
Tioram Castle - Left: Land wall and gate. Right: Void in sea wall supported by jack - the wall is thinest at this point
We hope that Mingary’s success will prompt a fresh look at Tioram Castle with a view towards its complete restoration
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.