Sunday, 20 April 2014

Dry Stane Walling

Where I live in rural Galloway my house is surrounded by dry stane walls. The walls have been there since around 1840 when the bounds were used to dry out bones before being crushed in the bone meal mill on the Mill Burn. Like all things old these walls need maintenance especially after the high winds this year and trees roots giving them a right good shoogle - slippage and collapse is evident.

The thing about dry stane walling is it is a combination of picking the right facing stone but more importantly backing it up with tight packed support stones from large to ever smaller, a well packed core is the secret to a good repair.

You occasionally pick the wrong facing stone and all the packing in the world does not make it stable, so you have to go back and redo (forget all the nonsense about having an 'eye' for the right stone its bollocks, at best you indulge in educated guess work). So you fiddle about, change stones here and there and the wall grows with out much apparent effort, you step back and see the lines of the original wall are carried along in your repair then you put on the cap stones, giving the wall its vertical loading, and look at what has been achieved. Routinely I look at what I have done and it looks like a nasty scar on the face of a well constructed wall but in three or five years the variety of mosses and lichens will have returned, the algae softened the raw stone edge with its deep green hue and I will be the only one who knows where my repair is.

This is also how I see the campaign for a Yes vote in September, its strategy and result.

We are seeking to build a better Scotland than the one that has been thrown down by the roots of greed and neo - liberalism and we will rebuild or country to the best of our skill and ability using the people who care, its own people. If we build our wall strong, balanced and properly supported it will last long into the future, solid steady and protective. Held up by all in the 'wall' working together. If we do this, the inevitable scars will disappear and become an ancient memory.

Must go - I have a wall to repair.

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