Steel beams are among the materials being put to the test at Lindisfarne Castle as the National Trust works on ways to weather-proof the structure, which is battered by the elements on a daily basis.
Lindisfarne is not even accessible by road at high tide, as the route to Holy Island is underwater – an indication of just how exposed its location is.
The Northumberland Gazette reports on some of the progress made already as part of a restoration project due to hit its stride in 2017.
Until that point, much of the work is experimental, with multiple methods used alongside one another to see which can withstand the weather the best over the coming year.
House steward Nick Lewis told the Gazette: “The two main trial walls have had their cement pointing hacked out, new lime pointing packed in and breathable render applied to give a protective cover.
“Internally, old rusty iron lintels have been removed from above three windows and new galvanised steel beams have been installed. Lintels in the West Bedroom have also been removed.”
The National Trust admits that in the past, it – like the castle’s previous owners – has looked for ‘quick fixes’ to many of the structural problems, which include leaky windows and a general susceptibility to damp and moisture.
But even so, the renovation team was surprised to discover one type of second hand steel that had been used at some point in the past on the building.
In the West Bedroom mentioned by Mr Lewis above, one of the earliest discoveries made during this project was a pair of Victorian railway line segments, which had been used over the windows as a structural joist.
While this proves that reusing metal is not a new concept, we would suggest sourcing any second hand steel for modern-day projects rather more carefully, to be sure of getting the right structural steel for the job.