Along with seven other people and myself, Martyn Leaver participated in a walling weekend at Cleabarrow farm near Windermere on the second weekend of March. The three hundred plus acres of rolling farmland owned for many years by the Scott family (who are related to Captain Scott who led the famous expedition to Antarctica ) is criss crossed with seventeen and a half miles of free standing dry stone walls, some of them quite tall. The farm and the walls were built in the early 1600s. Martyn who is a professional waller and a member of the DSWA of UK single handedly maintains these walls and over the years has repaired many of the sections where time has begun to take its toll.
He is seen here standing in front of a large section 'pointing' to the rest of the 250 feet of wall he has recently completely rebuilt. All the stones which are mostly mill gritstone including the large through-stones and heavier cams were lifted by 'hand' into place, using milk crates to stand on.
Martyn lives with his family in Kendal in Cumbria which is part of the lake district. He told me he enjoys working with his hands. His interests include restoring old boats, shooting the longbow and rock climbing. He spends every other weekend doing volunteer walling with other members of the DSWA repairing many of the walls in the area.
Martyn has a private business, Leaver Stonework and Paving, and explained to me that he does mortared work and cement 'pointing' as well as dry stone work. Like many other waller/masons Martyn admits that he loves building free-standing walls and prefers it far more to having to work with cement or doing flatwork. This preference seems to be the acid test amongst stoneworkers in Canada as well as Britain. To work with stone structurally, without adhesives or cements is far more satisfying and is considered a craft rather than a just a job. Martyn talked about hoping to visit us in Canada in the future to help 'lend a hand' and further strenghten ties between the DSWA Canada and the many wallers in Britain.