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Reading List – Nick Aitken – A Journey of Thousands Miles

We’ve got them back in stock!

“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.

Nick Aitken is one of the people in the world of dry stone walling you will want to meet.  He is one of the best wallers in world and is a fantastic instructor of dry stone walling.  The Stone Trust was thrilled that Nick had time to come to the Stone Trust Center in Dummerston, VT to participate in Irish and Scottish Dry Stone Walling Workshop May 2016.  Nick was also one of the examiners for our spring certification test days  then and  volunteered his time to give a presentation ” Ribbons of Stone” on Scottish dry stone walling in the evening .

Nick Aitken's Stone Trust Visit

Nick is a Scottish drystone waller, 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.

“Using old stone is tempting because it is weathered and covered with moss and lichens. Unfortunately this growth will lose it’s colour and die if the  stones become part of a new wall facing south, into the open sun.”

It is a carefully built combination of specialized stones, each co-operating 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 wall and structure.”

This must-have dry stone walling guide is written by Nick Aitken with nearly 200 photographs and diagrams.

” If you are lucky, the stone comes from the ground the wall is built on. “