Falkirk trainees learning ancient art

Trainee Paul Dineley gets to grips with the forgotten trade of dry stone wall building in Slamannan. Picture: Gary Hutchison (133018e)
Trainee Paul Dineley gets to grips with the forgotten trade of dry stone wall building in Slamannan. Picture: Gary Hutchison (133018e)

The old traditional craft of drystane dyking is making a comeback thanks to a new training programme designed to get people into work

Five trainees are learning the art of dry stone wall building as part of an employability project run by Falkirk Council’s rural construction skills training programme.

It was set up in August and over the months the team has been out and about rebuilding and repairing stone walls at 
historic landmarks and a number of focal points across the area.

So far the grafters have repaired walls at Fankerton Community Hall, Maddiston bus stance and Park Road in New Carron.

A stone memorial was also built on behalf of the community in Letham which was unveiled on Remembrance Sunday and the team is currently doing repairs on the wall next to the war memorial in Slamannan.

Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for economic development Councillor Dennis Goldie said: “This project is fantastic and the communities are really benefiting from repairs and the projects which have taken place across the area.”

Braes councillor John McLuckie said: “The public in Maddiston and Slamannan are delighted with the team’s work.

“The community in Slamannan are very grateful to the team and are constantly praising the standard of work to restore this wall and make safe and enhance the area next to the cenotaph.”

The council says its employability provision aims to provide training and on the job experience to get local unemployed people back into work while also improving local communities.

Once the trainees have completed their training they will have extensive experience in the trade with nationally accredited skills.

Plans are also in place to recruit more trainees for future projects.


Dry stone wall building is a method that allows structures to be built without using any mortar to bind them together.

The dry stones walls are stable because of the unique construction method of different shapes of stones being carefully cut and interlocked to create a solid structure.

Other structures like buildings, bridges and artwork can be created using the method.

Dry stone walls are also known drystane dykes.

The method dates back as far as 5000 BC and has been heavily used in Scotland since Roman times with brochs. The Incas were masters of the method which is used extensively at the famous Machu Picchu site – 2430 metres above sea level.