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  • David Leavitt

David: Rope Access Roof Repair

David Gibbon, David Johnson, and Finn Macmillan of GLM Architects made very clear to us in one of our first meetings (even before purchasing Knockderry), that making the building water tight had to be the highest priority. That made sense to us. When we visited the castle for the first time in September, 2022 water tightness didn't seem like that big of an issue.

Then came our next visit on New Years Day, 2023. My, how things had changed!

The castle's condition was worsening right before our eyes, and there wasn't a thing we could about it but watch it happen. Water streamed down the walls of the art in the Great Room. Water steadily dripped through the ceilings of each floor of the castle. In places, it was like we were in a canvas tent in a rain storm. The coldness of the building added to the wetness of it and made the place pretty dreary. The castle had deteriorated noticeably since September. Worse than the water coming in from the roof, was the water streaming through the castle from a broken pipe that had not been observed. A burst lead pipe in the attic allowed the water to flow continuously from the attic all the way through each ceiling and floor to the basement. The dampness and cold was VERY sobering. What we saw really made us think hard about whether we should pull out of the project.The only cheerful thing that we could think of was that we could still back out of the purchase!

Architect David Johnson was almost fatherly in his calm advice and observation. "Dry this place out and put some heat in here, and it'll be a different place." Thankfully, the caretakers for the castle in bankruptcy were able to find and stop the leak as well as find out the major sources of the leaking roof. In addition to George, Garry, Bob, and the guys who fixed many of the leaks the bursts, the architects knew it was imperative to retain a team of rope access specialists to make the repairs to the inaccessible parts of the roof.

Vertigo Access Solutions in Edinburgh agreed to come to the castle in February, 2023 and do what they could to repair the roof. Aptly named, they spent two days recently climbing all over both the castle and the cottage, making repairs that just aren't something one does, without ropes. See photos and brief video to see more.

We believe that the castle is now essentially free from any major leaks. More roof repairs to come, but it seems like we've bought some time to make those repairs when better weather appears.

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Apr 27, 2023

What a wonderful building and a brave endeavour! It looks as though it's a Victorian Gothic type of building; very beautiful. The scenery is also stunning. I really hope that the project is a success for you and that it becomes everything you hope for. Have you thought of asking the BBC or another channel if they would be interested in following you on this journey? I'm sure it would get a lot of viewers and might help financially, which might be worth the intrusiveness of it.

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