Wednesday, June 1, 2011 to Monday, June 13, 2011
Cumbria, England - Locknagar, Scotland - Aran Islands, Ireland.
Deeside style dry stane dyke repair that the tour of DSWAC wallers started and Norman Haddow completed at Birkhall at Balmoral in Scotland
We departed Toronto Pearson Airport, the evening of June 2nd arriving in Manchester England the following morning. We traveled to Cumbria in the heart of England's Lake District to join Gavin Rose at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel an establishment situated nearly at the end of the road into the Great Langdale Valley, in the center of the National Trust Lake District Park. Gavin has been employed by the National Trust for the past three and a half years as a trail builder. The best way to see the area was on foot and there were spectacular walks for all levels of fitness and stamina, returning at the end of each day to the warmth and charm of the small hotel for dinner in the evening. The town of Coniston was a lovely hike and there were small pubs and villages along the way. The beauty of the place is, that it is literally surrounded by dry stone structures including the superb Andy Goldsworthy installation at Tilberthwaite a few hours walk away and a visit to a lovely dry stone bridge, Slater's Bridge . Master Craftsman Andy Loudon spoke to us about dry stone walling on the Saturday night at the hotel. Local author and photographer Bill Birket spoke to us about the Cumbrian geography and geology at the Stickle pub on Sunday night.
Then we will traveled to Scotland by bus to spend three days visiting places like Glen Lyon, Aberfeldy, Balmoral/Ballater and Locknagar. Norman Haddow, DSWA Master craftsman, wias our guide. Highlights included a vigorous walk in Lock Muick, taking in the beautiful Highland scenery, a private visit to Balmoral and Royal Deeside seeing the estate walls as well as hiking up the Prince Albert's Monument, then on to Glen Lyon. Some of us got to repair a small section of wall at Birk Hall on the Balmoral estate on Wednesday while others went to visit Loch Na Gar distillery.
On the next leg of the trip we left from Glasgow airport to fly to Shannon, Ireland and the ferry to Inis Oirr (Aran Islands). We were joined by Patrick McAfee who has conducted workshops worldwide on the traditional Feiden walls of the islands. We hiked the Inisheer island, visiting the stone walls, holy wells and absorbing the geology, history, local language, Guinness and music always within sight of the sea, departing to Galway for departure to Toronto.
Our goal was to introduce the culture, the history, the ecology and for many of our members to connect with the stones and the stonework of our past.