2014-12-10  

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Dry Stone Wallers Build Themselves a Brighter Future

Two young men are keeping a traditional craft alive after they both passed their dry stone walling exams.

Rob Brumfitt, from Nenthead, and Chris Goodier, from Appleby in Westmoreland, have spent the last six months working as Heritage Skills apprentices on a course run by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Rob Brumfitt, from Nenthead, and Chris Goodier, from Appleby-in-Westmoreland, have spent the last six months working as Heritage Skills apprentices on a course run by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund  

Rob Brumfitt, from Nenthead, and Chris Goodier, from Appleby-in-Westmoreland, have spent the last six months working as Heritage Skills apprentices on a course run by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Working under the guidance of skilled craftsman and experienced dry stone waller, Laurie Lambeth from Lambeth Stoneworks in Nenthead, the men spent several months working on a range of projects in the build-up to the Dry Stone Walling Association Level One and Two exams.

The exam was supervised by Peter Dent from Low Kays Lea Test Centre in Hamsterley.

One of the projects Rob and Chris worked on during their time with Laurie was the restoration of the iconic shelter on top of Cross Fell in Cumbria, the highest point on the Pennine Way. To celebrate the famous trail’s 50th anniversary, the project was partly filmed by the BBC during which time the trainees were asked about their apprenticeships so far.

The restoration provided Rob and Chris the chance to learn the chance to learn some more technical aspects of dry stone walling, and the finished shelter can now once again protect walkers from the only named wind in the UK, the brutal Helm.

After passing his test Rob said: “I’ve wanted to be a dry stone waller for as long as I can remember. I love the landscape we have in the North Pennines and dry stone walls are an essential part of that. I hate seeing them crumbling but now I’m armed with all the skills needed to build them back up. Hopefully as the years pass by I will leave my own legacy upon our ancient and rural landscape.”

Chris said: “I’d like to thank the AONB Partnership and Laurie for giving us this opportunity. It’s been an epic journey, with some extreme weather conditions as you’d expect from the North Pennines, including blazing sun on top of Cross Fell which is almost unheard of.”

Since passing their tests Rob and Chris have both set up their own businesses as independent dry stone wallers.

Lesley Silvera, Project Development Officer from the AONB Partnership, said: “To see these two young men come in to such a traditional field of work and to be so enthusiastic and so skilled is for me, as their mentor, simply wonderful. They both gave their all and now doing the job that we trained them to do. They should both be very proud of what they have achieved.”

North Pennines

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