Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another Walking Tour of Walls June 01-12, 2012

Just thought I'd post this formal invitation today for you to think about joining me for a walk in the Lake District (Cumbria), and Yorkshire, England, and then hike the Aran Islands, Ireland, through an archeological and ecological legacy of stone landscape.  

This event is hosted by Dry Stone Walling Across Canada 

Along with about a dozen or so other enthusiasts you will enjoy seeing historic dry stone structures, hear the legends and the history of the castles, music and the traditions of the regions we visit .  We will be trying our hands at building a traditional Irish "Feidin" wall in the Aran Islands.  After a day of hiking the Viking walls amongst the flowering Lupins,we will  gather at the end of the day to the warmth and charm
of a small hotel for dinner and traditional music.

Our  schedule is to depart Pearson Airport, Toronto, on the evening of May 31 arriving the following morning, June 01 in Manchester, Great Britain.
From there we make our way to Cumbria in the heart of England's Lake District to join host Gavin Rose at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.  The stone establishment is surrounded by stone wall enclosures for the sheep and lambs, at the end of the road in the Great Langdale Valley, in  the National Trust Lake District Park, Cumbria.

Gavin is employed by the National Trust as a trail builder.  The best way to see the area is on foot and as he describes the valley..."the beauty of the place is, that it is literally surrounded by dry stone structures", including a superb Andy Goldsworthy installation. We can amble to Ambleside on the shore of Lake Windemere, visit Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin, or Hilltop, the home of Beatrix Potter.

We will also travel to Yorkshire,  the area where walling goes back to the first farmers who cleared their land for animal enclosures and property demarcation and walk the unchanged countryside that inspired the great English landscape painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

On June 06, we depart from Manchester and fly to Shannon, Ireland and board the ferry to Inis Oirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, to meet our host Patrick McAfee.  Pat was our host last year for our wonderful stay on Inis Oirr and we are happy to have him back this year.  Pat has conducted workshops worldwide on the traditional Feidenwalls of the Aran Islands .The isolation of these islands has preserved the native Gaelic/Irish  language and the traditional practices of farming, fishing and walling. This year we will be treated to a traditional meal - Dublin Coddle and Irish soda bread, cooked on a peat fire in a cast iron "bastible".We will hike or bike the island's miles of stonewalls and holy wells, and absorb the geology, history, local language, Guinness and music, always within sight of the sea.

On June 10 we will leave the island by ferry and travel to the medieval city of Galway for a two night stay.  On June 11 we will  receive an official welcome  to Galway and a tour of the city and a local castle generously sponsored Galway City Council's Heritage Office.We leave Galway on June 12 for a midday departure from Shannon airport.Cost and Dates:Great Britain and Ireland-May 31- June 12  Cost $2689.00 taxes included. (based on double occupancy)  

Costs cover all transport, ferries etc.  Breakfast is included with all accommodation.      

Space is limited, please book a.s.a.p.Flight from Toronto-Manchester, return from Shannon $740. dependent on booking time.The Walk the Walls portion of the tour  and the flight portion are priced separately so  those wishing to make their own travel plans to and from  our destination  may do so. Debbie at the Travel Broker can help you with your plans. We are designing this tour for the hikers, walkers or  wanderers. Our itinerary will be as casual as possible.Our goal is to introduce the culture, the history, the ecology and for many, to connect with the stones of our past! 

For travel information please contact Debbie Lloyd CTC, The Travel Broker, at or  613 389 7914 or 888 830 5324.  For general tour information contact:

Margot Miller, or 613 659 3415 or 


  1. Hi John,
    There is a wall organised for re-building on Inis Oirr (the smallest of the Aran Islands, a beautiful place with wonderful people).
    That is no problem but we need volunteers to help with getting the cast iron bastible, food and turf (peat) on the boat and over to the island and assistance with the baking and cooking. The coddle is a poor man's stew traditionally accompanied with a pint of Guinness. Pat McAfee

  2. Nice blog! I love this hostel very much. I will definitely visit and stay to that place.

    Mareiro Hotel at Meireles Beach