Friday, 31 December 2010

Colourful Feature

Thsi delightful garden setting was created by Andy Loudon a few years ago.. I felt the bright Autumn colours were a grand cheerup to counter the deep mid winter here in Scotland. More from Andy after New Year along with a link to his website.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Quiet Time after Feast

The cat in this photo sent in by Mark Jurus looks so comfortable. This is how I felt after eating my Christmas dinner. It is that quiet time when even I am happy to relax and not think about building walls for a day or two.
Go to  to see more about Marks's dry stone activities and another picture of the comfortable cat.
Autumn scene from Andy Loudon on 31st. December.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to all who put on stones around the festive period or even around their waists.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Sheep creep, hog hole, badger pass, but no humans.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Slate Feature at Dolleriemuir

This feature was built by David Welch with old slates left over when he repaired a roof close to his property. Quite an achievement for someone who normally works with lime mortar. 

Saturday, 11 December 2010

What a Difference a Week Makes

I went by foot to take this photo of the wall only finished a week ago. My wee car couldn't make it along the track because of the deep snow, Last week the track was very bumpy and muddy this time it was smooth and icy. Forecaster say it could be Christmas before the thaw comes. January is normally when the bad weather gets going. Roll on my annual escape to the Mediterranean.
Next post on 15th December is a feature in the neighbour's garden at Dolleriemuir.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Capping the Dyke at Dolleriemuir

What a great finish to a wall. Angus and Caroline fitted on the last three cope stones after inserting a bottle with details of the build left as a message to the future. The neighbours and their families arrived to celebrate with suitable refreshments, sparklers, speeches and an amazing cake. The cake had been made with blocks of chocklate sponge and a coping of chocklate buttons. Each person was offered  delightful pieces of simulated stones.

Entry on 11th December relates to a sudden change at Dolleriemuir.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Work close to home

I often travel long distances to find jobs in dry stone. I was very fortunate recently to find an opportunity to build a wall close enough to nip home each lunch time. The regular cups of tea, biscuits and pieces of cake from the owners, the entertaining chat with them and their children added greatly to the experience.

To cap that there was a gathering of neighbours at the completion, details of the celebrations in the next entry on 7th December.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Modern Inca Type Creations

Ron Henshaw made this amazing wall. He splits off massive chunks of rock and places them in a way which to me looks like something from ancient cultures in South American. I love the effect and greatly admire his skill in fitting them together.
I shall publish more of his work in later entries.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Attractive Seat

These stone features were built by Jason Hoffman recently. For more of Jasons work go to

Monday, 22 November 2010

Curved wall by Menno Braam

While I was in Canada I met up with an old fried Menno. He showed me these photos of a recent wall he built in a small area of garden. The radius of the curve is only 6 feet . He used the same centre for the edge of the steps. The final height was 3 feet. Menno is well know for his neatness and this wall is a fine example of highly skilled workmanship.
Have a look at his website

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

More from Scotts's Garden

This nearly herring bone wall is quite striking. In one corner is the gargoyle collected but not carved by him. What a great few days I had very interesting time and good food. Thanks a million Scott and thanks to Dawn as well for her contribution.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Scott's Goats

Scott George also has a large garden with many animals as well as stone features. Here one of his herd of goats takes a good look at  the visitors from a rather unusual viewpoint. Meanwhile the goats are not to be seen taking advantage of the goat shelter. No doubt they love it in the winter. Next one on the 16th to see a gargoyle, a hen and nearly a herring bone.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Funky Features

Scott George is a fireman by occupation but he just loves building without mortar. I visited him in Rochester USA and took several photos of his work. Over the next few entries I intend to share my delight with others. Long may he experiment with rock on rock. See 12th Nov.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Canadian Festival Crowning Glory

The outstanding feature of the four days was the dry stone Bridge. Overseen by Rocktober coordinator John Shaw-Rimmington, the workforce managed to produce this feature in a beautiful setting which had the appearance of having been there for centuries. With a pitched walkway and curved Cedar handrails I am told that this bridge was only the second one built in a public place in Canada for a hundred years. It has a charm which seemed to enchant  those who crowded round to watch the final removal of the wooden support from underneath the arch. I believe that everyone involved with the construction should feel very proud.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Young folks activity and a Gothic arch at the Festival

The children were not forgotten. A huge pile of firewood was provided for the kids to try their hand at building with a material lighter than rock. Eric Landman did a great job organising the youngsters in creating this fascinating spiral in wood.
Another interesting event  was this arch created at the beginning of one of the forest tracks in the Park. Daughter of the festival organiser John Shaw-Rimmington was delighted to show the strenght and safety of this dry stone feature. While all thes activities were happening tests for certification with DSWA  in the UK were being carried out at initial and intermediate level. The rock for all the events, training courses, tests, the arch, and the bridge mostly came from stone that had been kept for just such a moment for 50 years! A large property on site had been burnt down and the owners realised the value of the stone. How sensible in this modern world when so much material which can be saved in still dumped and lost.
The next entry shows the highlight of this years Rocktober Fest (6th November). A wonderful bridge.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Fireplace at the Canadian Festival

Many interesting things were happening in Rockport. This fireplace was designed by John Scott and built by him, his students and several other helpers. It was a real centre of attraction. The fire burned well with a fine updraught.
More from the festival in 4 days time.To find out more details about this feature and about dry stone walling in Canada go to

Monday, 25 October 2010

Rocktober Festival 2010

This years festival (the 7th) was held in Rockport in Ontario Canada. I was involved with one of the three training courses and mentioned that the traditional way to test a wall in Scotland was to run a wheelbarrow along the top. Kurt Wegner took up the challenge and here is the result . Thanks to Ryan Lemieux ( http://www.ryanlemieux/ ) for the black and white photo of the fine wall built by the students.Thanks to Medina,Stewart,Ray,Guy,Jim, to some others who lent a hand and especially to Kurt and his family encouraging his victory run.
The next few entries will show some of the wonderfully  varied events that took place during the four days. More on 29th September

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Irish Clochan in USA

This magnificent building was completed in 5days under the guidance of Patrick McAfee and Bobby Watt. The finished project using 30 students was 13' wide, 12' tall and required 55 tons of  rock. For more information go to  to read about Russ Beardsly who provided the photos and to for Marenakos that host the annual event.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Kitchen Wall

This very interesting build was created by artist  Kate Gilman Brundett. The idea is to place everyday items in unusual settings to stir peoples imagination and artistic awareness. Part of the Cumbrian Arts festival. Brilliant.

To see more of Kates work go to

Next entry on 21st October is a modern version of an ancient Irish clochan.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Veg Wedge comes to fruition

A couple of years ago I was involved with the construction of this dry stone feature put together by the students at Niagara Botanic Gardens under the guidance of that Master of Creative Design, John Shaw-Rimmington. Recently I received this view of the structure in action. It is now resplendent in its coat of Luffa Vine. This feature was a follow up to another of John's pieces in the same garden The cheese wedge shown first.
The entry in four days time shows a wall the like of which I have never seen before!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

First attempt goes well

I had these photos recently from Pete Panagiotatos who lives in Rochester USA. He had had only a couple of days training under Scott George and went home to try out his new skill. What a fine job he did! Great credit to Pete and his instructor.
Next entry is an update on a feature built a couple of years ago close to Niagara Falls.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Sand Sculpture

So it is very small stones (sand) and it is not quite dry but this was built during the recent Competition on the beach at Cannon Bridge Oregon. To see more of these amazing creations sculpted before the arrival of the next tide contact Olga Ridley at

Next entry is from a newcomer to the joys of dry stone walling. (11th October)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Congress Outing

One of the excursions from the Congress was to Lower Winskill farm near Settle high up in the Yorkshire Dales. The ground had been farmed by Cistercian Monks in the middle ages before the dissolution (that strange double meaning which sounds so close to disillusion) of the monasteries by Henry Vlll . What was different about these walls built of limestone on bedrock in the 14th and 15th century was that they had no batter , they also had overhanging cope stones which may have been to prevent wolves reaching their sheep. The farm was bordered by extensive native woodland at the time.
The present farmer and archaeologist, Tom Lord, told us that for the lay monks work was a pleasure and a duty where time and material were not important factors. Changed days.
(Thanks to Tracey Blackwell for giving me some sound advice on this entry.)
The next Photos (27th September)were taken inside a disused slate quarry close to the Congress site.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

12th International Dry Stone Walling Congress

I attended this event at the University of Cumbria in Ambleside. It was a great success. The talks were mostly fascinating and well chosen to cover the Craft (or is it Art ) of walling. There was a fine collection of enthusiasts including a good mix of "hands on" wallers and academics from many countries.

While most of us were listening to the lectures a stone seat was being constructed under the direction of Andy Loudon. This is shown here with some of the builders from across the world.

The next entry has photos of medieval walls visited during one of the outings. The style was quite a surprise for the guests.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Thistle at the Scottish Garden Show

This was the exhibit organised by the West of Scotland branch of the DSWA. Several other branches helped in the construction. Normally features at these shows are dismantled however in this case the Thistle is to be rebuilt at Erskine home.

Regimental Walls of Scotland,

Erskine Home sponsored the walls built in different types of stone to represent Scottish Regiments. Galloway boulders for the Royal Scots Borderers,Skye marble the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders,granite the Highlanders, sandstone for the Black Watch and whinstone for the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
What a fine result with a lovely combination of rocks and flowers.
Entry on 24th September tells about the recent Dry Stone Congress held in the Lake District.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Yorkshire Bridge

Members of the Otley and Yorkshire Dales branch of the DSWA under the direction of John Hestlegrave built this attractive bridge at Ballowfield for the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Congratulations to all involved with this delightful feature. As it is in a public place they decided very wisely to use lime mortar on the copes.

The next entry is the image of a Scottish thistle in stone and flowers. (19th September) After that are some entries about the recent Dry Stone Congress at Ambleside.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Rocktober Festival 2010

Now in its 7th year you are sure of a lovely welcome at the Dry Stone Walling Thanksgiving Festival in Canada, the second weekend of October

I have attended all these events , thoroughly enjoyed myself , met wonderful people and learned a great deal. This year they are building a bridge , teaching courses with an array of international instructors, have several exhibits, providing fun for the children and there will be fascinating evening talks. Normally hundreds of interested members of the public attend to observe. Food is good too.

To learn more about the location, the dates and the programme contact

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Sedum on top of a limestone wall

Dean McLellan sent this photo of the wall (limestone) at the front of his garden. The Sedum covering is growing luxuriantly into its second year. During the first year it was watered regularly, this year only occasionally. I have tried to do similar things in Scotland on other types of rock without success. I can only manage to get grass turf or heather turf to survive.
For more information go to
The next entry is all about meeting up with enthusiasts for the craft in Canada.