As we rolled into the sunny days of August we were delighted to appoint Norbloc Construction as our contractor for the Enabling Works at Castletown Mill. This next phase will roll out across the next 12 weeks, taking us up the first week of November.
The mill showing the Welsh slates on east-west wing
The Enabling Works
The first stages in the Enabling Works are to underpin the mill and also to erect scaffolding around the east-west wing of the building. To put it simply the underpinning requires carefully excavating below the 1m wide Caithness stone built walls and pumping in concrete. This will ensure the stability of the building going forward by providing foundations retrospectively.
The east-west wing of the building requires to be scaffolded in order to allow the safe removal of the existing Welsh roof slates. The mill building is similar to a T shape with the header of the T closest to the beach. This part, the north-south wing, is the original mill building, which James Traill built in circa 1818 as a starter enterprise for his heir George Traill. It was originally roofed using Caithness slate which, due to their value, were removed from the building before we purchased it. The second wing, east-west, remains with its Welsh slate roof intact. It is this roof that is to be carefully stripped and rebuilt to ensure it is brought up to modern building standards and also adding a damp-proofing layer. The Welsh slates will be removed as carefully as possible in a bid to be able to re-use as many as possible.
If you would like to help up to conserve this building then why not Sponsor a Roof Tile?
We are so excited to see the growth of our barley! In April, George and Gavin from Thurdistoft Farm sowed the Firefoxx barley seed in fields surrounding Castletown, each field is within 2 miles of the mill and right beside the bay. The fields were first cultivated, before the seed was sown and then Cambridge rolled all with the one day. The Cambridge roll helped to preserve moisture.
We have been watching it’s growth from the first green shoots peeking through to its current mesmerizing golden sway. Come September time, George and Gavin will be guided by the weather and begin the harvest when it’s ready. It will then be sent to Bairds for malting.
Sowing the barley
Green shoots of barley appearing
Barley gently swaying in the breeze
Martin and Kevin chose the Firefoxx variety of barley as it has a reputation for standing up well to the Scottish weather, particularly in northern Scotland! It matures early and has no issues with delayed cutting due to bad weather. The grain quality is consistently very good with no issues with screenings or skinning. Sounds like the perfect variety for our far north coastal location.
As the renovation work progresses we are keen to be able to offer ‘Hard Hat Tours’. We are aiming to offer these style of tours more frequently in the coming year so look for the opportunity to have a peak around the building as it currently stands. Come and view the old mill before it is transformed into the home of Stannergill Whisky
One of the most obvious aspects of the project is that the old mill building requires a new roof! If you would like to be part of this project then why not Sponsor a Roof Tile on the building? When you sponsor a roof tile we will send you a beautiful Slate Coaster, created by Norse Stone, and in time the co-ordinates of the tile on our roof – meaning when you visit the mill you can take pride in trying to spot your tile!
There are further opportunities to be involved with the restoration and support our project. Our 1818 Society offers a fabulous opportunity to invest in a Limited Edition bottle with an exclusive label designed by Lisa Poulson of Inspired by Caithness. This first release of Stannergill Whisky is a special edition and will only be sent to our 1818 Society members when it is aged 5 years old.
We will also have something special coming very soon.