Friday, March 19, 2010

Hand of a Professional

Master-craftsman and chief examiner for the DSWA of UK, Andy Louden, took us on an all day tour of some interesting dry stone walls and bridges in a very remote part of the Lake District yesterday. Andy explains (with his hands) that his favorite stone to work with is this irregular volcanic stone ( seen in this picture) found in the walls throughout the area we walked through, near Wasdale, Cumbria. The stones are quite small and slightly rounded and few of them have any length at all. These are not easy stones to work with and the walls have no through-stones and generally no caps. The slate stone found in many of the other parts of Great and Little Langdale provide a much better selection for wall building. Nevertheless these walls are both beautiful and obviously structural as they have survived the test of time. Many of the walls are much wider than necessary and reminded me of the consumption walls found in parts of New England. The corners of the walled fields broaden out into great stockpiles, made up of all the extra stones that have long ago been cleared off the land.
At the end of the day we stopped into Andy's Local pub for a drink and met with John Aitkinson of the National Trust and learned more about the training session Andy is going to be teaching coming up later this month, which will be run for several of the National Trust trail workers including our good friend Gavin Rose.

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