Those that follow me on social media may have noticed that I’ve spent some time working on our dry stone walls here on the farm over the last few weeks. Jim, who helps to maintain the farm dykes here, has been dyking since he was young and has continued to do bits and bobs to help keep him busy in retirement. He showed me the ropes and gave me some interesting reading material to help get me started.
Weather dried up, so managed to get some dykeing done. No bad for an afternoons work pic.twitter.com/DG59rpdyMf
— James Rhys Baylis (@SolwayShepherd) August 27, 2015
As luck would have it, Iona spotted an advert in the local paper for a dry stone walling course that was about to take place on a local farm, so after a quick phone call to our local branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association I was booked on.
I spent the past weekend in the company of some fellow ‘wannabe’ dykers and the South West Scotland Dry Stone Walling Association. Over the duration of the two day course, we took down and reassembled a section of dry stone wall at a local farm and (possibly more importantly) ate some fantastic food!
Jim had given me a good grounding of the basics, so while I may not have learned anything new, the opportunity to get practice and build a stretch of wall without Jim there to bail me out of the difficult bits was great. The course was fantastic value for money too, costing just £25, thanks to a training voucher from the DSWA and the Prince’s Trust.
Dry Stone Walling, or Dry Stane Dyking as it’s known in this part of the world, is a dying art, so it’s a hugely beneficial skill to have. It will make a big difference to the farm and is another service I will be able to offer as part of my contract shepherding business in the future!
Following the course, I’ll definitely be joining the DSWA and taking advantage of every opportunity to attend courses and get some more dyking experience under my belt!
If you fancy giving Dry Stone Walling a go, you can find out more on the DSWA website!