The Durham Cathedral tower repairs are, after a three year closure, starting to wind down. And everyone's pretty excited.
The scaffolding and white wrapping - affectionately referred to by some in the city as the Durham Cathedral bandage - is finally being removed. Well, the bits that haven't already been ripped off by the wind, at least; Mother Nature certainly did her part to make the Durham Cathedral tower repairs a little bit harder.
The tower was actually originally closed back in November 2015, which seems a long time ago now, but soon the Durham heritage skyline will be returned to its iconic former self.
The stonework finished in November 2018 - three years after the initial tower closure, and since then the Durham Cathedral tower repairs have moved on to fixing the lead around the top of the roof (the roof-coverings and rainwater systems) and installing new viewing platform decking ready for when Durham Cathedral tower tours begin again.
The focus of the Durham Cathedral tower repairs have been in response to the issues raised during an architect's inspection, which pointed out some serious tower repairs that had to be undertaken. Work - carried out by Durham Cathedral's own masons - included vital conservation work on the upper parapet, the tower belfry and the outside of the lantern.
The £1.9m project was funded from various groups including Friends of Durham Cathedral, the Alan Evans Memorial Trust, DCMS, the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund and the Sir John Priestman Charity Trust.
The scaffolding will now be removed, bottom to top, which should take until March 2019, by which time the Durham Cathedral tower will be looking more like its usual self. All that will then be left is to remove the lift - which was installed on the outside of the tower to make access easier. Pity they can't leave it in so that we visitors don't have to wheeze up the tower stairs to enjoy the magnificent views from the top.
In the meantime, the Durham Cathedral North West Tower tour (which features an app that includes a gigapixel image and interactive 360 picture to make the walls disappear, all created by ExplorAR) has been open, which still has great views across Palace Green and the rest of Durham city centre to the north, but isn't quite as high and doesn't have the same 360 views as the main tower, with the stone arched windows only on three sides. We - like a lot of Durham - are looking forward to seeing the Durham Cathedral tower repairs finishing in a couple of months time and the UNESCO World Heritage Site looking back to its best again.