Last weekend the South East Scotland branch joined up with other Scottish branches to help the West of Scotland Dry Stone Walling Association with the building of their annual entry for Gardening Scotland's show garden competition. This year's entry is based around a giant dry-stone sundial, with a fountain for the gnomon.
The water will come out from the wall on the left in the picture above, between the two formers (the wooden arch-topped things, which are there to support stone arches while they're being built, and which will be taken away once the arches are completed), and into a hole in the large square of stone in the centre, using a special pump which produces a very steady bubble-free stream of water.
The formers are for stone niches which will contain plants, and there are a couple of stone ledges for plants as well.
The fountain will issue from a roman XII set into the wall at the noon position ... the stone for the numeral proved a bit fiddly to cut, until someone managed to borrow a stihl saw ...
In previous years quite a few of the other show gardens have featured dry stone, but this year I only spotted one other - the stonework is by our chairman, Richard, and our resident master craftsman, Bruce.
This report from Richard, our chairman (I didn't make it myself, despite setting off with the best intentions ... a broken spring which went through a tyre put paid to my day's dyking!).
Saturday 9 May.
A rather dreich day at our new venue at Shiplaw Farm just north of Eddleston. Derek Walker, who also owns the nearby farm at Darnhall, welcomed us, in between feeding his sheep, and claimed he hadn’t been out of his waterproofs – since August (not sure which year). I took John Doohan and Coolie (the dog) with me; then Steve from Lauder and Dave turned up. Unfortunately Donald’s car broke down and he had to call off. We formed two small squads to take down 2 or 3 sections of farm dyke round a small field near the house. The weather eventually improved and we managed to complete our task before getting away about 3.00 (John and me, for family reasons) though the others stayed on a bit longer.
Coolie was a welcome guest, as far as Derek was concerned, though he got tied to the fence for most of the time. John took the bus down to Shiplaw and did some other repairs later in the week on his own account, as practice for dyking work on the small farm his family has in Donegal.
(Maybe pics to follow)
Earlier this week I visited the Dry Stone Walling Association office, at Crooklands in Cumbria. I was in two minds as to whether to blog this or not, as it doesn't really come under this blog's usual subject (that being the branch's activities). However, it also doesn't really come under News, and there isn't anywhere else on the site to put it, so this is where it's going.
The office is in the refurbished Lane Farm, which also houses the Westmorland County Show offices.
Which is all very nice, but doesn't really have much to do with dry stone work (I hear you say). However, in the county showground beside the office there is this.
Twelve "panels" of wall, each made with stone from and in the style of various regions of Britain, from the uniformly coursed sandstone of South Wales, through the various limestones, sandstones, slates and granites of England and Scotland to the randomly arranged quartzite of the Highlands.
Last weekend (or was it the weekend before? I think maybe it was ...) I took my family to Vogrie park (it was great - loads to do, though we were a bit disappointed that the ride-on model train wasn't running). While we were there I took the opportunity to have a look at the wall we were working on a couple of years ago. The section that we'd coped still was in fine condition.
However, the adjoining section, which we'd built up but not got as far as coping, wasn't faring so well.
It's pretty apparent that people have been climbing over at one point, and the stones are getting knocked off.
I think what's required here is a stile ... must put the idea to the rest of the committee, if I can remember to do so at the next meeting.
This blog, and the rest of the site, are produced by Donald McInnes, treasurer of the SES DSWA (I'm the baldy one, sometimes in a saltire hat).