Today's dyking excursion was to Cubbiedean in the Pentland Hills, once again with the Friends of the Pentlands, or with two of them (Neil and Hamish) at least. And in a return to my usual form, I forgot to take a before picture. So if you could imagine the below with a lot more tumble-down wall where Neil and Hamish are, and three old rusty gates stretching from the fence posts in the foreground down to the wall just visible on the left of the photo, I'd be much obliged.
This is the same spot where Richard and I did some repairs when we were visiting nearby Bonaly about two months ago. So if I'd remembered to take a photo then, that would have been a good 'before' shot for today. But I didn't. Anyway, this is the bit of wall we did last time (the lighter coloured stone is the bit we repaired).
The idea was for us to repair the wall along the top, which was much fallen down, and to carry this on down the hill where the old gates were and join up with the wall at the far side. The site was much overgrown, and the gates were held in place with very rusty twisted wire - Dave had brought along some shears and wire cutters, and one of the park rangers showed up just after we started with a couple of sickles, so first we cut away the unwanted grass, nettles, thistles and ancient ironwork. We decided to leave the big fence post in the corner in, partly because it looks quite nice, but mostly because it was very firmly fixed down.
The cheek-end of the existing wall was quite nicely done and it seemed a shame to have to take it down, so we decided to make a small lunkey, or gap, against it for badgers and the like to get through.
However, this presented us with a problem, as we then couldn't tie in the stones bridging the gap without taking down the old cheek-end anyway. So we decided just to build another cheek-end butted up against it, and build our badger lunkey a bit further up the hill.
We had a great day for dyking - sunny, but not too hot, and with enough of a breeze to deter the midges. We were also close enough to the path to exchange pleasantries with walkers and horse riders, and the view was fantastic.
I headed home at four, leaving Hamish, Dave and Chris were still hard at work (Richard and Neil having had to leave earlier).
I don't think there was enough stone to finish the repair, even if they did feel inclined to carry on until eight (which is when, according to Dave, it gets too dark to work at this time of year). But the rangers can drive another load up for us, and we'll probably be back in October to 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).