Elphin Hall watertight again
by Ann O’Keefe
Well this has certainly been a year to remember, and Elphin, Ledmore & Knockan Community Association will remember it in a positive way because of the assistance given by Coigach & Assynt Living Landscape Partnership (CALLP) to enable work to be done on our Community Hall roof and stonework to stop water entering the building.
Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and NatureScot, CALLP Community Grant Scheme was able to award us £5000, which together with the money raised by ELKCAL from events such as Chicken Day, New Year Ceilidhs and fund raising dinners, was enough for us to employ GM Roofing to repoint the stone-work on the chimney and west wall, replace slate and lead on the roof and replace damaged gutters.
Originally built in 1896 as the Assynt Primary School, before the work was done the building was no longer weather-proof and water was causing a lot of damage to the internal structure walls and in the roof cavity.
Repairs started just after lockdown was announced so the work was able to be carried out safely and without any additional disruption as all the usual weekly activities such as Craft, Circle, Toddler Group and Meditation and Yoga classes had already been cancelled due to the Covid restrictions.
The first sign of progress was the erection of scaffolding around the chimney which was repointed and re-leaded to make it water- tight. While this occurred, it was found that the guttering along the front of the building was rusted beyond repair, so that was replaced as well, to stop rainwater running down the wall and seeping into the stonework.
The final work was carried out on the west facing wall where stonework was repointed, and nearly all the slates were replaced on the entrance alcove as well as lead flashing being upgraded.
Hopefully now the winter storms can throw everything they like at the old building, and once the Covid restrictions are lifted we will be able to resume the many community events that are held in the hall in a friendly, warm and DRY environment.