Many of our members must have been hoping for almost any good news from Scotland in the troubling times we are living through. Although there is still some very minor "snagging" work for the contractors to finish off, I am very happy indeed to report, somewhat belatedly, just such a good news item. Phase 2 of the repairs to Struan Kirk was essentially completed this Spring.
I had intended to post this update, probably the final one, much earlier, when we expected the last finishing touches of the major repairs to have been applied. Very frustratingly however, some extremely strict coronavirus restrictions from the Scottish Government followed hot on the heels of what had been a very wet winter indeed in the Highlands. This by itself had already contributed substantially to delay, and the virus lockdown prevented final completion. As I write, the restrictions have not yet been lifted to the point where the contractors can get back on site; and even this depends of course on whether and how well their business survives the lockdown and its after-effects.
All of this explains why the accompanying photographs, although they give an idea of the magnitude of the work done since I last reported, don’t yet show the entire building as all of us want to see it when we next visit.
The major development since the last update was some serious deterioration and slippage of the coping around the roof ridge, parapets and bell tower. When the architect had first assessed which repair works were essential and which might be delayed for a few years, it was believed that some concrete and other patching, in addition to work on the slates and improved guttering, would suffice to keep the roof in sound condition for some time. This proved too optimistic, and in the end the Kirk Trustees decided they had no option but to accept the need for substantial new stonework and accompanying leadwork.
This required not only some unique pieces of stone being manufactured, but also the hire for a considerable period, and of course the erection, of expensive external scaffolding. This work in turn meant more temporary specialist bat survey work and licences, as did some additional treatment of woodworm in the roof space. Last but not least the heavy equipment needed to bring in the stones and the scaffolding itself caused some damage to the slabs along the entrance path and the surrounding ground.
Fortunately the funds raised by the Society and the families whose donations had enabled the acquisition to go ahead were sufficient to allow this work to proceed.
Once again, heartfelt thanks to all of you who have helped to make this rescue of Struan Kirk possible.
Clan Society Council Chairman