I received an email last week from my good friend Gavin Rose documenting a recent dry stone trail project he has just completed. This is part one of his fascinating account of how he and his crew moved and shaped the large stones for the job.
"I have been working with a small crew in the Grampians National Park in Victoria, Australia for just under a year, repairing trails by building retaining walls, stairs, culverts and other dry stone structures. Our most recent project took place on a remote ridge near Mt. Rosea, where a new trail had been built that followed the ridge line - with a 200 foot escarpment on one side and a 15 foot drop-off on the other.
At one point the ridge between these two features became quite narrow, forcing walkers to pass dangerously close to the escarpment, and it was decided to construct a stairway down the other side of the ridge in order to avoid this hazard.
As there were very few suitable small rocks in the immediate area to build with, we decided to use the numerous large boulders available by dislodging them
and then drilling them
and splitting them, using feathers and wedges, in order to create usable pieces. "