Scaling the heights for cathedral spire repair

GLASGOW Cathedral has been repaired a year after strong winds left the highest point of its steeple at an angle.

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The spire of the famous city landmark was damaged by gales over Christmas 2011.

Historic Scotland – which is responsible for the maintenance of the cathedral – has now carried out the £30,000 repairs to restore the spire to its former glory.

The weathercock was also damaged by the winds.

The top of the spire was no longer vertical due to the winds and corrosion, and the weathercock showed damage to some of the rivets, with the tail blown off.

A further structural inspection also found an area of the steeple was in need of re-pointing.

Historic Scotland's district architect, Ian Lambie, oversaw the conservation work.

While the conservation itself was a fairly simple and inexpensive task, it was made more complex by the height of the building.

Mr Lambie said: "The only way of accessing the spire was by climbing up inside the steeple using steep narrow ladders and squeezing and crawling through small windows at the apex.

"Making repairs at this sort of height has its challenges but it's always worth it for the view."

Glasgow Cathedral was the only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to survived the 1560 Reformation virtually complete.

It is thought to be located where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo, built his first church. The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt.

It was built in the 1100s and has been an active place of worship ever since –that is more than 800 years of service.

Today, it is a Crown property and is cared for by Historic Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

It has an active Church of Scotland congregation and is also one of the city's most popular tourist destinations.

Now that the necessary repairs are complete, the weathercock should be able to withstand the worst of the wind and the re-pointing should hold for at least another 10 years.

Specialist stonemasons were brought in to carry out the masonry repairs and emergency scaffolding was in place during the year while the work was carried out.

Blacksmiths who usually work on Edinburgh Castle were called in to repair the damaged weathercock, which was also reguilded by Historic Scotland specialists.

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