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A review of dry stone walling in 2013 – part 2

After finally finishing the big job in Edinburgh in June, I spent the following three months getting stuck into three fairly decent sized jobs – and doing lots of miles of driving. I shouldn’t complain as it’s good to be busy.

July 2013

Dry stone retaining wall

Dry stone retaining wall

Scottish Borders – Low retaining walls and lots of steps
Using local whinstone, I built a series of low retaining walls and steps in this garden in the Scottish Borders. Paving was put together by Steven Rowe of SR Landscaping. This job coincided with a fantastically hot period of weather – some days were torture!

Dry stone walling training course

Dry stone walling training course

Cloybank dry stone walling training course
I spent an interesting couple of days in July teaching trainees at the Cloybank Estate. Cloybank offers building training to the long-term unemployed in the Falkirk area. Although the stone was quite challenging, it was great to see the improvement in quality over the two days.

August 2013

Dry stone retaining wall

Up the stairs…

Alva Glen retaining walls
A second job for Clackmannanshire Council in Alva Glen, this time building three sections of retaining wall in Alva Glen.

The long section up the staircase was fun to build, although very labour intensive moving the stone!

September 2013

Dry stone wall at the start

Early days

Fife – turf-topped free-standing wall
September saw me start work on another large project – this one was 20 metres of free-standing wall. The brief was to make the wall “interesting” – after lots of discussion and chat, we decided to build a long curved section of wall that started high, dipped in the middle and finished high.  And topped with turf.  

It was such a complicated shape, especially building a nine metre long, shallow curve in the middle section – the change in height also means the base width changes too – keeping the batter consistent was very difficult.  I learned a lot about building curves with this job!

October 2013

Base stone work for dry stone building

Base stone work for dry stone building

Dry Stone Walling Association – Spanish exchange visit
I was selected to go to Andalucia in Spain as one of the Dry Stone Walling Associations representatives on an exchange programme – part of a dry stone project involving organisations in the UK, France, Spain and Italy.

Wall in progress

In progress!

Fife – turf-topped free-standing wall
After the warmth of Spain, I was back on the turf-topped free-standing wall.  The weather was a mite bit colder in Fife.

November 2013

Dry stone wall


Fife – turf-topped free-standing wall
One day soon I’ll finish the turf-topped free-standing wall…Ok – last push on getting the big wall in Fife done. Another big job completed – 25 man days of work; 24 tonnes of stone and 36m2 of turf sawn and laid.

Fife – Dolerite, turf and larch bench

Stone, turf and wood bench

Stone, turf and wood bench

Using stone left over from the job in Alva, I built this bench/shelter near to Kinghorn Loch. The seat is made from a large piece of larch and the top was made using thick turf dug from the base of the stone work. This was part of a community project to enhance access to a right-of-way.

December 2013
Edinburgh – Devil’s cream and old brick walls

Garden stone walls

Devil’s cream and stone facing

The last completed job of 2012 involved facing the old and shabby brick walls in this Edinburgh garden.  I had to use mortar (Devil’s cream) to bind the stonework together given the narrowness of the stonework.  However, it was hidden as much as practicable to give the impression of dry stone walling.

In the front garden I took down and rebuilt two sets of ancient and crumbling dry stone terraces.  The rotten stone was removed and replaced with new Alston stone.  Nothing was wasted though, as the old stone was used as backfill for the new walls.

2 Responses

  1. Awesome!

    I’ve enjoyed receiving your frequent FB updates illustrating your craft/art work, which has earned you my respect. Very inspiring.
    This review tops it off: lovely to have it all joined at one place; I’ll share it with the Natural Building community. Thank you for taking your time to share what you do with the world.

    PS: Also thank you for teaching me a new English word: “practicable”…

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