Apprenticeships in traditional dry-stone wall building

Balmoral Estate

A project has developed from a conversation with HRH The Duke of Rothesay to provide an apprenticeship scheme in traditional dry-stone wall building.

Five students from The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community have completed the course at Tullich Graveyard and it is hoped to have some more students in the spring time to complete a further course.

The project involved constructing 300 metres of dry-stone wall that will form the perimeter of the new extension at the graveyard and showcase three Pictish stones that have been in storage for nearly ten years.

The project has been funded by The Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, Aberdeenshire Council and The Estate of the late H.M. Sheridan. Local dry-stone waller Steve Denham has led the project and has provided the training, along with his staff, to the apprentices.

Rebecca Lloyd from The Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation sees the project as an excellent opportunity on a heritage site, encouraging students to learn important skills involved in dry-stone walling which is a disappearing trade.

Local estates, Balmoral, Invercauld and Dinnet have donated all the stones making the project much more cost effective and thus viable.

The Tullich Graveyard site comprises of a circular graveyard with a ruined kirk at the heart, and construction of the new walling is planned to run into spring of this year. The kirk that stood on the site until 1798 dated back to 1400 but was preceded by previous similar structures, the earliest of which was founded by St. Nathalan in the mid-600’s.