Members Newsbrief September 2020


LOCKDOWN THERAPY – or how some members coped! Any more?

1. Steven King, winner of the best cams at the Penrith Virtual Competition, found this build very helpful during shielding. A total of 7.75metres, features, and a wave. (Ed: He has now been co-opted to the committee as designer for all future CountryFest/Westmorland Show demonstrations!)

2. Patrick Lacey who joined the Trail Riders Fellowship and Cumbria CC initiative at Cartmel Fell :

“I was the only waller, so easy to keep to my own space on the retaining wall I rebuilt. The only major drama, on day one, was some over enthusiastic digging by the drainage team below my footings (when I wasn’t paying attention to them), which resulted in some frantic buttress bouldering to stop the day’s work heading down the bank. They didn’t come back! Got home satisfactorily aching for a hot shower, and administered pain relief (white and red wine) to celebrate a job well done.”


                                                                         Spot the buttress ^^boulders!


3. Your secretary, and NEWSBRIEF editor, was not destined to enjoy a quiet August Bank Holiday. The God of walling (see over) had other ideas. His neighbours’ wall, some 94 years old and suffering from decaying mortar, fell over in the night, thankfully narrowly missing the car. A four day rebuild in drystone resulted; more wall needed to come down, of course, and foundations needed re-siting.


Any more examples of lockdown therapy sessions from members for the next NEWSBRIEF?

DSWA Cumbria Branch



We received an email from Richard Utting, the Chairman of the Penrith Show: “Could I just express my thanks to you and the Dry Stone Walling Association for supporting our Virtual Show. It is very much appreciated. Pass on our thanks to all those who took part. We look forward to seeing you and all the competitors at our ‘real’ show next year – Saturday 17th July.” So there, one happy Chairman!

Your branch committee is very conscious that this year has been a very bad year for all our members with the cancellation of everything arranged. We hope that it will not lead to members not joining up next year when, we hope, things will be more normal. The Trustees have revised the regulations in line with government Covid regulations, and, as a result, we hope to be able to offer some training days’ walling this autumn. It will be the first official venture out for the branch post lockdown, and we realise that, understandably, some members may still be a little wary of joining in a group activity, however Covid safe we intend to make it. Full Covid instructions in line with the Trustee regulations will be issued, of course, closer to the time!


More about walling at Cartmel Fell. Patrick Lacey and I are happy to organise a few days walling on the green lane and are suggesting the end of October; it does not have to be at the weekend for Patrick will have finally retired by then, taken a short break and will be looking for things to fill his days!
There are plenty of walls where Patrick worked (see above) in need of repair and it will be quite easy to maintain self distancing and conform to DSWA protocols.

If you’d like to take part in what may be our only event this year, please let Patrick ( 07768 314921 ) or me know as soon as possible
( 07715 210027 )




Reminder of the practice meet at Riddings Gill next weekend – 12 -13 July and the dinner at Britannia Inn, Elterwater, from 6.15 on the Saturday. Wives, partners and anyone else welcome to join us in the back bar for an evening of jollity!


For those who have not been before, Riddings Gill is a unique wall on National Trust land with long slate throughs into which poles for wire fencing are inserted.

(Ed: a memorable wall! And what of the 2008 competition to name the Patron Saint of Walling? The winner was…….

St. Thruston – Born somewhere in Dumfries and Galloway some 30 years before Hadrian became Emperor. He was a farmer, dyke builder and sheep dealer who journeyed each year to Castlerigg Stone Circle with a flock of sheep to trade for decent stone. The construction of Hadrian’s Wall might have proved a disaster, but on his first journey south, he and his sheep passed through the wall without any problem and without damaging the wall in any way. In fact, it was discovered by the Roman architects that where he had passed through, the wall was strengthened. It is also appropriate that St Thruston was born in the area that centuries later was to become the cradle of the DSWA.

Modesty almost prevents my divulging the name of the author, for ’twas I, your humble secretary; but may I hasten to add that the competition was judged by those attending a Branch Meeting and entries were anonymous!


Chris 07715 210027

DSWA Cumbria Branch

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