Tuesday 21 February 2012

Driech day activity

Another one of those driech west highland days, can't see Mull, and the byre roof, stripped of roofing felt in the gales is sodden. The byre is classed as an "historic building" in the crofting counties and so qualifies for a restoration grant of up to 50 per cent of the cost, in theory. In the black and white postcard picture below the byre can be see below and to the left of the house the walls are wooden and the roof metal. This was probably taken in the 1940s or 50s after the metaled road was constructed in front of the house.

Postcard of Kilchoan from Sue Cameron and W. Ardnamurchan Historic Photographs website.
 There is a snag. I went on line to start the application process but soon lost the will to live. First you fill in a 35 page pre-application application. Once this has been vetted some months down the line you are told if you qualify to make the actual application which if successful might mean a 20 per cent grant. So the application process achieved its objective....... I decided not to bother.  I'll do the job with second hand roofing sheets and locally sawn timber at less than the cost after grant.

My neighbour Alistair thinks the byre was built in the 1920s, it housed the house cow or cows. There is a concrete floor with a "grip" ( dung channel) running across it and draining into the field. Calves were kept in small adjacent pens and they were probably let out to suckle the cows once or twice a day.

It has been used just as a general purpose log and feed store since I came. It would make an ideal goat house (more of that later). The roofing sheets are box section steel (wriggly tin) coated with some weatherproof dark green stuff against salt, wind and rain. The rusty, unsightly old sheets of wriggly tin on the walls will be replaced with timber, boarded and battened.

The image below, taken by Alistair in the 1950s shows the byre from the south with what appear to be windows in the south facing wooden wall.
I took delivery of a load of cladding for the walls last week from and to my surprise and delight it was cedar. I had been expecting Douglas fir or hemlock but Sandy Macdonald at Ardslignish had just milled it from trees felled to make way for the new road up Drynie Hill between Loch Moidart and Mingarry. It smells delightful.

As soon as it dries up the "Playboy Joiner" and myself will make a start. We need more purlins in the roof and to add some 4x2 to the walls framing, perhaps even two windows in the south wall.

Craigard and the byre in 1950s (Alistair C. Cameron)

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