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Craigievar Castle … a Unique Restoration Opportunity

Pictured above - Andrew Allan and Steven Harper, LTM Project Leaders.

Pictured above - Andrew Allan and Steven Harper, LTM Project Leaders.

Built in 1626 Craigievar Castle has been subject to general decay through weathering and ageing, but more recently serious dampness had set in and on full inspection it was discovered that the cement based mortars used in the 1970’s for repairs covering the exterior walls, were in fact to blame for the decay of one of Scotland’s most prestigious castles. LTM are the Main Contractors for The National Trust for Scotland project and have been hard at work under the vast scaffold for the past 18 months. A large team of our stonemasons have spent their time removing the cement covering, and have undertaken the task of re-harling the castle with lime and are in the final stages of applying coats of lime wash. The 20 decorative cannons had also weathered and decayed and have been a truly unique restoration project in itself, recreating 20 new cannons representing the castles history or setting.

LTM has evolved from a passion for the traditional skills and materials involved in traditional masonry, and Steven Laing is every bit as keen to deliver that passion ten years down the line, making sure that this craft does not die out, so when the £750k restoration project for Craigievar Castle was awarded to LTM, he saw an opportunity to open doors to his stonemason apprentices when the doors closed to the public. The most senior and skilled stonemasons would probably have been the most obvious choice for this delicate project but Steven, insistent that his apprentices are educated with a range of skills in a hands on environment, had 14 apprentices work along with LTM master stone-masons on the cannons that will be there for centuries. Each cannon was hand carved from a block of stone, each with a unique design. The result has been a huge success and has been a real honour for LTM to have such a major role.

Many projects involve more than one area of expertise. Aware that the involvement of multiple contractors working on masonry elements of a project can complicate the process, LTM aim to take minimise this by providing an in-house solution. Craigievar is a classic example of this and the involvement of LTM’s conservator has been very important to the restoration and has included a report summarising an assessment of the conservation repairs and its documentation of works undertaken on carved sandstone, selected granite stonework and on the casting of the armorial panel of Craigievar Castle.

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