Dry stone walls – the thousands of miles of stone ribbon stretching across the landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, Yorkshire Dales and Cotswolds – use construction methods which have existed for thousands of years. Indeed, dry stone structures in the Orkney Islands and Ireland are even older than the Egyptian pyramids. A dry stone wall is more than a pile of rocks. It is a carefully built combination of specialized stones, each cooperating with the other to create something useful, strong and attractive. No mortar is used. The wall relies on friction and gravity, and the skill of the builder, to keep it together. The basic building principles are easily learned and this book provides step-by-step instructions to develop the skills to build many different types of walls and structures. With nearly 200 photographs and diagrams,
Nick Aitken is a Scottish drystone dyker, now retired to the Pacific Northwest, USA. He is a qualified Master Craftsman and instructor through the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. He has worked throughout the Scottish Highlands and Islands, from Glencoe to Caithness and St Kilda, and is familiar with many stone types and dry stone building techniques. In 2001 he was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to travel from Nova Scotia to New York to study the local dry stone walls and stonework, ancient and modern. That trip, and others to Ireland, Austria, Mallorca and Canada, convinced him that dry stone walls are infinitely variable and, at the same time, all fundamentally similar.