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  • Chelom Leavitt

Chelom: Does the castle have running water?

It’s really fun when people get excited about the castle and ask questions. One common question is “What is the condition of the infrastructure of the castle?” A number of people specifically wanted to know does the castle have running water. My answer was “Yes, but not the good kind.”


I then explain that one of the first times we walked through the castle after buying it, we saw the reality of the disrepair. In 4 or 5 places water was streaming into the great hall, the 2nd floor bedrooms, and the living room. Buckets were overflowing and damage to the parquet floor, the ceilings, and most disappointingly the art in the great hall emphasized how serious the problem was.

George, a contractor helping us quickly arranged for some skilled roof experts to 1) replace slate shingles; 2) mend some of the down spouts that added to the problems; 3) mend some lead joints that over the years had been neglected. That was a good stopgap that largely alleviated the problem. We have found a few more leaks and they are soon to be fixed. The beautiful part of Scotland is the weather will quickly let you know if your roof is inadequate.

So, the answer to “Does the castle have running water? is thankfully “No, not anymore.” We are working to get a bid on replacing the electrical, plumbing, and heating—all of which are in terrible shape. At some point the castle will have functioning plumbing—water and sewer—but for now we just want to make sure it stays dry and secure.

The backside of Knockderry, 1897

Neil Mcallister, one of our architects, has a real knack for finding interesting things about Knockderry. This gem he found in an archived copy of and 1897 edition of Academy Architecture and Architectural Review 1897. The painting would have been done within a year of James Templeton and William Leiper's 1896 remodel of Knockderry.

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