My diary entry 6 years ago to the day:
The fact that we are putting roofing sheets on at all at the moment is a testament to hope and desperation. Daryll left Harris just before Christmas on a very rough ferry. He secured the doorway of the Byre by nailing a sheet of OSB across it, leaving the newly delivered steel roofing sheets stacked up at the top of the drive on a pallet with breeze blocks weighing them down.
When we returned, together, a few days ago, we found to our horror that the roofing sheets were still stacked up, but they were ALL battered, twisted, bent and dented. That was £1000 worth of roofing, and there is certainly no money to buy any more. The OSB door covering had also been stoved in and splintered. What on earth had happened while we were celebrating Christmas and New Year down south?
A 105 mph gale is what.
Our stack of roofing sheets had been picked up and hurled down the road towards the eagle observatory path, where they separated and, bouncing on their corners and ends blew up into the hills. The gouge marks where they cartwheeled across the moor were clearly visible. They would have been absolutely lethal if anyone had been in their path. Luckily in a gale like that the inhabitants of Miabhag Nam Beann are wise enough to stay indoors. Once the winds dropped, Morag’s nephew Reece, who was staying for Christmas, did a stirling job of gathering them together for us, and with Roddy he stacked them up and tied them down so that they were safe until our return.
The autumn/winter evolution of our wee dwelling
I was distraught when I saw them. I could not imagine how we would ever straighten them out and make a roof out of them. The Byre at that stage was a wooden house- shaped box, wrapped up in a green breather membrane. The membrane is supposed to be waterproof, but the wind had ripped a lot of it off, and the OSB sheeting underneath was getting wet. It was urgent that we re-staple the membrane into place and get those roofing sheets on immediately. I felt sick and dizzy as I tried not to reprise Daryll for not securing them more carefully. Didn’t he realise the wind would get under the pallet?? Cathy Bell and Morag said it was a shame. The truth was, neither he nor I would have ever envisaged a gale that could have picked that lot up.
There was no possibility of replacing these roofing sheets. The only option was to salvage them, so this is what we did. We jumped all over them and Daryll beat them into submission with hammer and mallet. In the end, screwing them down onto the roof straightened out the final kinks and twists. All along we were wondering if we still had enough. It looked like we were going to be at least one short. The worst damaged sheet was left till last, in the hope that we wouldn’t need it, but of course we did, so that had to be beaten to within an inch of its existence before we had any hope of getting screws through it into the roof joists and finally ironing it out by pulling it flat. Now when you look at our roof you would never guess what it has been through!