The weather here today has been completely horrible – sleet, snow, hail and wind. In other words, not ideal conditions for getting up on a roof, so Pete and his crew abandoned their current job up the road in Strathy and came to have a look at our fireplaces.
Those stones will clean up nicely with a wire brush, Pete will repair the back with matching stone and I’m going to try and find an old oak beam to put above the lintel – the plan is to box around it with the plasterboard and leave the stone exposed. Although there’s a hearthstone there, the floor level’s going to be raised up with the underfloor heating, so if we can find a big enough bit of Caithness flagstone (or two bits to go side by side), we’re going to use that, as Pete says he can fit it for us – but has warned me that the three exposed edges need to be natural, not cut, otherwise it won’t look right. We’ve got a couple of bits here and a friend of Mick’s has got some he’s willing to let us have, so hopefully we can find one or two pieces that work.
BUT we have two enormous load cracks in the lintel (one shown below, the other is a mirror image). Pete is doing the calculations to work out if we can still break it out by inserting a big sheet of steel into the wall under the lintel to support it – essentially functioning as an RSJ, but less visible. Fingers crossed!