Sunday, 17 February 2013

Walling at Firs

The snow has melted sufficiently for Chris to get on with repairing a length of dry stone wall.  The hundreds of miles of dry stone walling is a major feature of the upper dales.  They provide invaluable shelter for our sheep, particularly in lambing time as well as being strong, stock-proof boundaries.  These walls have stood for hundreds of years and eventually require repair or re-building.  Dry stone walling is a skill, usually passed down from father to son and both Chris and his brother are experienced wallers.   
A dry stone wall has a central cavity which is packed with rubble and small stone.
Stones are selected and discarded until the right one is found that fits and sits correctly.  Large 'through stones' are laid the full width of the wall, tying the front to the back, for strength.  The number of rows of 'throughs' depends on the height of the wall.  The best walls have three 'throughs' and are finished off with a row of sloping top stones.
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