Lukas very kindly shared some picture of the Duddingston seat build on the 9th of July with me, but as I don't check my gmail account very often I didn't pick up on this until just now. So here, belatedly and with my apologies, are a selection of them.
On Sunday we went back to Harlaw/Threepmuir (see two weeks ago's post) to finish off the wall rebuild. When I arrived, Dave and Alan had already made a start on completing the 'through' course.
It seemed to go a lot easier than the last time, probably because we'd already dealt with the worst of what was there before. After a couple of hours' work we only had the copes left to put on, so we stopped for an early lunch and then put up the copes.
Some had gone astray somehow, and we didn't have any other suitably sized stone so we had to improvise a bit, but I think we got away with it. We still had most of the afternoon left to us, and there are plenty of other bits of the wall in need of attention, but in the light of this repair having grown from a couple of meters' gap to about three times that once we'd started on it we didn't think we had time to tackle them, so we just called it a day at that.
Perhaps not really a branch activity, but today two of us (Richard and myself) went to the Midlothian Community Hospital Open Day to provide a small demonstration of dry stone walling.
They didn't manage to source any stone for us to use, so we had to make do with what we could bring in our cars, which meant that it really was a very small demonstration. However, we had a lot of interest, and managed to build a yard or so of two-foot high wall (well, two feet at it's highest point).
We then took it down and built it again, seeing as it was meant to be a demonstration of dry stone walling. It wasn't quite so good the second time, and I was all for taking it down and doing it again, but we realised that the two hours of the open day were almost up. Fortunately they didn't mind us just leaving it there for them to finally dismantle themselves.
Today we went to the Harlaw/Threepmuir reservoir complex in the Pentland Hills Regional Park to continue with repairs to the walls around the reservoir. This time we were on the opposite side to the Harlaw visitor centre, but I parked at (or rather, outside, as it was full) the Harlaw car park and walked round - passing the raised bed we'd worked on back in April, which is now filled with earth and has a few plants.
The section of wall we were going to work on had pretty much collapsed for a couple of meters, with only the bottom couple of courses remaining in place.
And when we started looking more closely, we discovered the reason: the wall had been built with traced* sides, with only loose stones and even some earth in between.
* Traced: in dry stone walling, the stones are meant to be placed with their longest dimension running into the wall - if they are placed running along the wall (like brickwork), they're traced. It's bad, because any movement (and dry stone walls move) can result in the traced stones falling out of the wall - if they're placed correctly, movement should settle the stones within the wall without them falling out.
Closer inspection showed it was actually worse than it had initially seemed: several meters of the wall had been done this way, and the bits which had not come down were only holding up because of large amounts of mortar beneath the copes - in some places, the cope stones weren't actually resting on either side, and were just held in place by being mortared to the rubble infill. We ended up having to take down about five meters of the wall, and even then we only stripped it back to the points where it was a bit less badly done ... in all, I'd say this was just about the worst-built wall I've had to repair (though I've seen photos of worse ... don't mention the Aberdeen by-pass, please ...).
Shoveling out large quantities of rubble-filled earth took a good bit longer than dismantling a properly build wall would've done and it was lunchtime before we got it all cleared out. After lunch we started putting the foundations back in (properly):
and the courses above (also properly):
and the throughs (nearly properly - a couple of them were a bit on the short side, but they'll still do their job).
By this time Dave and I had to leave, but Alan bravely stayed on to stabilise a bit of the existing wall which had started to collapse. We'll be returning in a couple of weeks to (hopefully) finish it off.
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).