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The Tower of Craigietocher
Update 1st January 2018

If I remember correctly I finished the last up-date by saying - I will end this Chapter as I did Chapter 1 - I would hope to have the Tower completed and liveable by the Summer of 2012 – Watch this space..!!

And I also added a couple of mini up-dates in 2016. So, here we are on the 1st January 2018 where I will continue the Never-Ending Story on the building of Craigietocher Tower.

Moving on from summer 2012 through to present has been a bit of a rough time with numerous stop / starts to the build program, this basically as I ran out of money due to the turn down in the Offshore Oil & Gas Industry and the very low price of a barrel of oil. But, being me, I did not give up or get discouraged, if you have a dream and you want it to come true you have to keep going. I took any job I could get, even worked as a door security guard at a local insurance company for 3 month. In mid 2017 things started to pick up and I’m please to say I now have a full time offshore position with Mobil working offshore Nigeria. Not the best place in the world to work, but the bank manager is happy, and the tower is, dare I say it, nearing completion. All the above complicated by huge escalating build costs.

So, what has now been completed and where are we with the build? I will list what has been accomplished by year and then give some additional information on the ups and down encountered during this 5 year period.


Completed laying the under wooden floors in preparation for the UFH runs.

Replaced rotting 12” beam in Gt Hall.

Re-cut and re-positioned windows in the spiral stair well due to misalignment of spiral stairs.

Removed scaffolding as external tower build completed to chimney tops.

Sanafil open round walkways.

Installed sundial at corner of tower.

Built false well to cover sunken fuel oil tank


Complete installation of Gt Hall fireplace.

Start the lime plastering of all internal walls.

Install windows.

Repair and re-build cap house external door block work.

Complete applying fire retardant paint to all timber floors and beams.

Commence the ornamental painting the Gt Hall and Laird’s Room ceilings.

Commence installation of the heat recovery ducting.

Install central vacuum system.

Commence 1st fix electrics

Install land drains (French Drains) alongside road and burry power and telephone cables.

Reroute Burn due to flooding and over flow onto site.


Address major issues with rainwater ingress through roof and porous cast stone block work.

Install Sanafil covering to crowstep blockwork.

Address fungus growth on some of the 12” beams due to water ingress.


Install scaffolding for harling works.

Complete harling of Tower.

Complete boarding out of all rooms.

Remove part complete vaulting of ground floor (cost reduction)

Repair settlement cracking on one open round.

Re-install arch way surround, kitchen to dining room.

Internal lime plastering ongoing.

Purchased all toilet, shower and bathroom fittings.

Purchased all kitchen fittings, cooker, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, fridge/freezer, etc.

Install heat recovery system.

Install new site entrance gate – improved security.

Sell off redundant 20ft container.


Continue to address problem with water ingress.

Complete spiral stair well lime plastering.

Re-painted all external window wood work.

Complete installing all UFH runs and screeding.

Clean all Caithness flag stones with HP water jet.

Complete installation of plumbing works.

Continue with landscaping around pools.


Complete laying Caithness flag stones in kitchen & dining room.

Installation of kitchen fitment 90% complete

Start laying Caithness flag stones in Gt Hall.

Fitting out of 2 toilets, 3 on suite shower rooms and bathroom 60% completed.

Electrical works 90% completed.

Lining of all rooms 100% complete.

Installation of lighting fittings 80% complete.

Septic tank system fully commissioned.

Temporary re-surfacing of road completed.

Crest over front door installed.

Under Floor Heating system commissioned.

All water ingress leaks finally fixed.

Complete lime plastering of all internal walls.

Central heating / water boiler commissioned.

Replaced broken / damaged slates on tower roof.

This brings me up to-date. Lots done, but quite a bit yet to do.

What went well and what went badly.

The well bits:

Completed the harling and removed the scaffold.

Completed all the lime plastering of the internal walls.

Complete installation of the UFH and commissioning start up with no problems.

All but finished the out fitting of the kitchen.

Complete the painted ceilings.

The badly bits:

Let down by original harling contractor the day before he was to start. This extended the rental on the scaffold which had been erected for the start of the harling by 4 weeks.

Finding that the Caithness flag stones due to being outside for a number of years had become stained by the wooden packing batons. Needed to be HP Washed.

Having to re-design the ground floor ceiling and remove the part installed vaulting due to cost and problems with aligning the vaulting to the number of doorways and the recessed gun loops.

Resolving the water ingress problem.

Finding that purchased shower trays and fittings were too big to install due to mismeasurements and unapproved build changes resulting in having to buy new items.

Having to cancel the GSHP system and buy a bigger boiler to run the UFH.

Running out of money mid 2016 and having to lay off the contractors for 3 months.

Additional cost for cleaning cast stone items due to over spill and poor application of harling.

Seems to be a lot of ‘Badly Bits’, but overall I’m happy with the eventual progress, even if slow and all the additional cost incurred.

As of today, the look ahead is to have the Tower habitable, but not finished by July in readiness for us to move in. My step daughter is scheduled to start at Aberdeen University in September 2018 so by then we hope to be settled. When we move in I will be retiring from working offshore and concentrating on finishing off the Tower build and furnishing in the 16th century stile where possible.

You might be wondering as to what the build costs are as of today’s date..?? I can tell you I have spent so far £1,044,127.59 and looking to claim bag VAT to the value of £12,803.28. Looking to my Project Build Schedule I estimate that I still require a further £40,000.00 to complete all building works. Running slightly over budget, but how do you price a dream..??

Next up-date will be when we move in, will keep you posted.

And here is what the Tower looks like today...

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