Collossal Dry Stone Walls
I’ve been busy building some pretty big walls recently. Although the walls have been big it’s been the stones going into them that have been truly huge. The biggest used so far is an estimated five tonnes. Obviously way beyond my lifting power I have had to learn how use wheeled digger (great fun, if a little nerve racking at times). Not a JCB but you know what I mean. Below are series of pictures – before, during and after.
Above is the excavator (even bigger than beast I got to grips with) it had to clear back what was a loose bank of soil and rubbish to give a solid foundation.
Below sees me hopping out of the digger to see what I’ve just placed.
Although we didn’t dig down for the foundations, the land there is overflowing with gigantic stones and I thought a great way to use them would be to stand some of them upright. So two ropes were laid out and a series of monsters were buried roughly a quarter into the ground.
Being West Wales it started raining before too long. You’ll notice the chickens have made themselves scarce.
Having set out the line of standing stones I filled in the gaps with the biggest blocks around. Hammering them into the mud with the digger bucket. The stone there is Quartzite and sparks like crazy when you whack it.
The process from there is one of stacking them up, overlapping in the way brickwork does. Wedging the stones on the inside of the wall until they don’t wobble then packing the space with loose stone and soil so that the wedges can’t move.
For most of the building process you’re making two ‘skins’ with packing in the middle. To finish the wall you must use ‘Coping Stones’. These are stones big enough to span the width of the wall thereby holding together the two sides. On most walls the top would be a foot wide or less but this one was three foot and so even the coping stones had to be lifted up with the digger.
This is a different wall on the same land, most of the stones in sight are heavier than me, with the bottom layer being heavier than a small car. In might look unpleasant but I’d rather build a wall in the cold than the blazing sun!