Dry stone wallers pass the test
Two Cumbrian men have laid the foundations for their future after being awarded a national certificate for their dry stone walling skills.
Andrew Cullens, from Nenthead near Alston, and Martin Routledge, from Carlisle, have both passed the Level Two Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain’s Craftsman Certification Scheme thanks to a project run by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership as part of its Heritage Landscape Skills initiative.
Skills for the Future
The project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Skills for the Future programme, put the two trainees through their paces to ensure their work was up to the high standard required by the association.
Both men were over-the-moon when they had found out they had passed the strenuous seven-hour Lantra course, taught by professional waller Laurie Lambeth, of Lambeth Stonework, Nenthead, which included them having to build a 2.5 square metre wall section.
Demonstrate their skills
During the test Andrew and Martin had to demonstrate their understanding of building with no mortar, which included stripping out a dilapidated wall; digging and laying foundations; building up walls; packing the wall with smaller stone; putting ‘through’ stones or ‘thruffs’ into place and finally placing the cap or coping stones on the top.
Built to last
All of the skills required to pass the test, which was held at Low Kays Lea Test Centre near Hamsterley, should ensure that any walls built by the men will last for at least 100 years.
The aim of the scheme is to increase the skill level in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and to get more wallers working in one of the country’s most unspoilt landscapes.
Lesley Silvera, from the AONB Partnership, who is managing the Heritage Landscape Scheme, said: “Dry stone walls are a striking and now-integral part of the upland landscape here in the North Pennines. Walls have become an important aspect of the farmed landscape providing shelter and shade for stock as well as creating definition and shadow.
Investing in the future
“We are working with local wallers to train up two to three people a year for four years in a bid to sustain this rural craft with the hope that some trainees will stay on and work in this area.
“Next year is the final year of the scheme and we will be recruiting in February.”
For more information on how to get a place on the scheme contact Lesley Silvera on 01388 528801 or email Lesley@northpenninesaonb.org.uk
For test schedules, test dates, joining information, practice days, contractor lists and general information on walling please contact:
The Dry Stone Walling Association firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 01595 67953
For training and tests at Low Kays Lea Test Centre, County Durham please contact Peter Dent email@example.com
Released: 03 December 2013