April, 26th | The Magic of Stone
Cupar Heritage recently held a further on-line event, with the fourth of our monthly talks on ZOOM. The speakers were Ann Gammack and Martin Tyler from the Dry Stone Walling Association, Central Scotland. There was a good attendance from Cupar Heritage and members enjoyed an excellent presentation
Ann Gammack opened by giving us the historical perspective on dry stone walls. They are such a feature of the Scottish landscape but are under increasing threat from the pressures of modern farming. She began by taking us to Neolithic Orkney and Skara Brae and moving on to the Brochs of the Bronze Age. However, it was during the great enclosure of common land in Scotland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that the stone walls became a major feature of the landscape in both Highland and Lowland Scotland.
To show the modern reality, Ann introduced Martin Tyler, who is a dry stone waller (Dyker), working largely in Perthshire and Angus. He showed us examples of his work in repairing and protecting stone walls in caring estates and farms. He is also finding more demand for new build walls as design features for special houses and gardens and even received help from Prince Charles in one project. The Dry Stone Walling Association gives support to this work and encourages the training of new recruits to maintain the important skills of the trade. Martin stressed the need to use local stone and was interested in the stone buildings and the range of stone quarried in North Fife.
There was a lively question and answer session after the talk. Many members were impressed with the scale of the work involved in building and repairing in stone and the wonderful finish achieved by a traditional craftsman. At the end of an excellent evening, Ann and Martin were given a very warm vote of thanks by the audience.