South West Scotland Branch

                                                                   of the

Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain

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Courses 2018

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The second course of the year was at the end of June, on a new site in Girvan, Ayrshire. This was a sandstone wall which had been commissioned by the local council and was in a state of disrepair. We discovered, once we started stripping out, that a lot of this was due to poor building technique. Most of the stone, including some of the heavier pieces, were put in trace which affected the structural integrity of the wall and led to the weakening of some areas. Once it was down, we had the trainees sort out the stone so that, when they rebuilt it, it was of a l stronger construction. The weather was glorious all weekend (dare I say a little too warm) and due to the public carpark beside us, we had a fair amount of spectators. Two of the trainees joined the branch that weekend and everybody enjoyed the course.


First course of 2018 was held at Loch Arthur Farm. We had 5 very willing trainees on the weekend with members joining in as well. The weather held up well on the Saturday with blazing sunshine all day. However, Sunday took a damper turn with frequent showers. The foundations took a bit of work to replace as a few of them were of large proportions so we didn't get as far on as we normally do on the first day. On Sunday the trainees were raring to go and the wall went up fairly quickly. We also had interest from the local press who sent people down on both days to take pictures of the work. All the trainees enjoyed the work as well as the lunch provided.  

For our third and final course of the year, we went back to Rainton Farm with the kind permission of Mr David Finlay. We also had use of the farm trailer for the trainee talk and to have lunch. The weather was a little drizzly for the early part of the morning but the sun soon came out. So, unfortunately, did the wasps. We had 7 trainees the youngest of whom was 8 years of age and one of the new members came along as well. Some had had some dyking experience before and were looking to refine their technique, others were completely new to it. We had them strip out and rebuild approximately 16 metres of stone over the two days, with a few extra helpers in the shape of a vole and some toads! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their experience and were quite taken aback with how much they had achieved over two days. We also presented Mr James Finlay with a book to thank him for his years of support to the artisan skill of dry stane dyking in the Stewartry and beyond.