The main focus of our branch is to provide training weekends for beginners however we occasionally host local projects and competitions or take part in events that are held further afield.
We held our first training course of 2022 at Loch Arthur Farm, Beeswing. Nine trainees signed up for the weekend with Niall Baird instructing. The weather was dry and sunny but there was a strong wind throughout the weekend which cooled the heat down.
Loch Arthur, April 2022
October 2021 Competition
We hosted our 33rd dyking competition at Kelton Mains on the NTS Threave Estate near Castle Douglas on Saturday 2nd October 2021. Only 4 competitors applied for the competition but on the day a 5th competitor took part making it 3 professionals, 1 amateur and 1 novice. The site was ideal for the competition, but the weather was very wet and windy. Fortunately, NTS Threave Estate offered the use of their building which meant that at least we could be under cover at the lunch break. Thanks once again to Linda for the catering and Frances and Jak for helping out. The dyking was of high quality and all participants were winners:
Professional: 1st Keith Dempster and winner of Stewartry cup
2nd Jim Nichol
3rd Davey McCleary
Amateur 1st David White
Novice 1st Jeff Hattie
Organised in partnership with NTS and supported by Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, the competition will demonstrate the skills of drystane dykers and continue a tradition of dyking competitions that have continued in the area since the first on held near Castle Douglas in 1939.
See the rules for the competition here
See the application form for participants here
Threave demonstration dyke
In September 2019 we hosted a joint branch event at NTS Threave Estate near Castle Douglas where, in partnership with Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, we built a demonstration dyke which would incorporate the different style of dykes which are found in the Galloway Glens area - boulder, double and Galloway style. With the assistance of Dave Thompson, NTS Estate Manager, we picked a suitable site on Kelton Hill within Threave Garden. Most of the stone came from the estate with local dyker Keith Dempster sourcing additional granite boulders. Garth Heinrich supervised the volunteers over the weekend with a great turnout from the South East Scotland branch who along with NTS volunteers built 25m of dyke to create an impressive viewpoint. Find out more here
Rainton September 2021
Training course at Rainton Farm, Gatehouse of Fleet
The first and only training weekend / practice meet of 2022 at Rainton was a great success with 7 trainees attending from near and far including participants from Ireland and the Central Belt. The weather was kind to us and our new gazebo was put into good use. Linda provided the food for both days but was unable to stay so Frances assisted with catering on both days. William and Jak helped out and we split the group into two with Nial and Nic providing the training.
Rainton September 2019
Training course at Rainton Farm, Gatehouse of Fleet
We were once again back at Rainton Farm for the last course of the season. 15 trainees signed up for the weekend with Niall Baird and Nic Coombey instructing. Most of the trainees had dykes of their own and were looking to learn to maintain them. As we had such a large group they were split up and worked on two separate sections of the dyke. The weather was a mix of sunshine and grey skies over the weekend but the rain managed to stay away. The groups took it upon themselves to have a competition about who could do the rebuild the fastest but at the end of the weekend they completed the task at the same time. All 15 of the trainees got on very well and agreed to meet up after the course to work on each others dykes.
Girvan June 2019
Training course at Ainslie Park, Girvan.
We were back at the sandstone wall in Girvan which, initially, was poorly constructed and was showing signs of needing a lot of repair. Unfortunately we have a limited amount of stone available and so construction has to be well thought out to be rebuilt in the traditional dry stone style. Five trainees were booked onto the course and were more than ready to tackle this unusual rebuild. Niall Baird was the instructor over the two days and expertly lead the trainees. The weather over the weekend was blazing hot sunshine with a steady breeze to take some of the heat away. The wall was succesfully completed to a stronger and more durable standard and the trainees were very happy with all they had achieved.
Loch Arthur April 2019
Training course at Loch Arthur, Beeswing, Dumfries.
We had 11 trainees and two branch members at Loch Arthur over the two days who were instructed by Niall Baird and Nic Coombey. The farm manager, Peter, had indicated a section of field dyke which was in need of repair and so we used that for the course. The trainees stripped out and rebuilt approximately 20ms over the weekend and, in typical Scottish style, the weather was a varied mix of wind, rain, sun and hailstones!! This did not dampen the participants enthusiasm for the task and a great weekend was had by all.