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For some time now, St Duthac's has been in need of major restoration work. When the church was built, the stone used round the windows came from the south of England and has proven unable to resist the west Highland weather. As a result, the stone has eroded and water has leaked in around many of the windows.
Luckily for us, one of our congregation, Johnnie MacRae, has taken on the role of co-ordinating the restoration work. He has put a huge amount of work into getting the project to this stage and we are very appreciative of his help.
To make sure that we researched what was needed as much as possible and in order to have a specification for the building work, we engaged Wittets Ltd who are specialise in conservation architecture. We have the services of a very experienced stonemason, Neil Tonagh, who has inspected the building and visited quarries to find suitable stone for the work.
The first and main part of the work is replacing the stone around most of the windows. As it's a Listed Grade B building, we have to replace like with like and so the mason has sourced suitable stone. He has placed the order for it and it will be cut into blocks in the quarry and then transported to his workshop on Skye.
Once it's there, he has to cut each piece of stone individually so that they will all fit together once they're in place. He plans to re-use some of the best existing stone so as to save a bit on costs.
All the leadwork on the roof and all the rhones and guttering around the building have to be replaced. Fortunately, the roof itself is sound and while there may be the odd slate to be replaced, there isn't structural work needed on it.
Over the years, water has leaked into the building and so all the plasterwork round the windows needs to be removed and replaced. As well as this, there is some flooring near the door that needs replacing.
There's going to be a new heating system which will involve wiring and plumbing work and once everything else is done, the inside will need to be painted.
All in all, a lot of work!!