Dry Stone Walling Association
Otley and Yorkshire Dales Branch Meeting - Otley Social Club 5th July 2011
(1) Present: Wendy Oldham (Chairman), Don Bradley, John Bradshaw, Richard Kitchen, John King, David Griffith, Crawford Smith,
Bill Davis, John Downie, Andrew Keane, John Heslegrave, Keith Willis, Martyn Smith, Colin Pack, Tracey Blackwell, Keith Sturdy,
Nick Ferguson, Derek Henderson, Colin Alexander, John McLeod, David Hicks, Trevor Womack, Stephanie Burton, John Butler, Adrian Tod,
Neil Firth, John Oates, David Harrison, Joanne Haines, Mick Pearson, Mark Kelmanson, Peter Thompson, Wendy Hartley, Brian Hartley,
Stephen Dicken, Liz Jackson, Richard Milner, Neil Beasley.
Apologies: Terry Bollen, Alan Smith, Patrick Wallace, Giles Anderson, Debbie Williamson, John Oldfield, David Tate, Elaine Wood.
Guests/Visitors: Steven Allen, Joel Tidswell (WY Branch).
(2) Previous Minutes (7th June 2011):
N. Goody’s name was missing from the list of those present. Though he had not signed in & despite his disguise, several members
recognised him. That apart, acceptance proposed by Derek, seconded by Colin was agreed.
(3) Matters arising from previous minutes: None.
(4) Chairman’s remarks (Wendy Oldham)
4.1 An E-mail has been received from Helen Hope (present at the April training course with her husband),
thanking the Branch for the experience. An invitation to a working holiday at their French property was extended. Speak to
Wendy if interested.
4.2 The last workshop was cancelled due to lack of interest. The next one will be run in September.
4.3 Two new members, who had been on the June training course, were welcomed to the meeting.
4.4 We are invited to be represented at a National Trust Open day at Brimham Rocks on August 13/14. This
site attracts hordes of visitors at weekends & represents an excellent shop-window for a demo & literature stall. 11
members indicated interest; around 6 per day, at least, would be required. (Post-meeting – The Chairman informs me that
there is sufficient interest to cover both days. The NT will be so informed. MS) .
4.5 Joanne will take over the production of these minutes from Don at the August meeting. With advancing
age & suspect hearing he has found it difficult to maintain the demanding standards of plausible inaccuracy demanded by
(5) Treasurer’s report (John Bradshaw):
A balance of £6543 was reported by John, after allowing £1002 anticipated expenses.
(6) Secretary’s report (Richard Kitchen):
6.1 Richard has received a gratifyingly early new booking to join the gang on Colin’s sloping patch in the
Autumn. A quiet month in the secretarial office!
(7) Branch Activity Reports:
7.1 Askwith Show – this venue has apparently dropped out of members’ interest.
7.2 Brimham Rocks – John K reported two visits during the month with 5 and 3 wallers respectively.
Gratifyingly, the latter included a “new” member.
7.3 Countryside Day, Harrogate, 14/15 June – JMcL reported 6 Volunteers (5 schools) & 5 volunteers (4
schools) on the two days. We have received an appreciative letter from the Education arm of the showground & an
invitation to attend their Countryside day in October (for older children).
7.4 Leyburn – a) John reported a very appreciative letter from the organisers of Dales Food & Drink, including
favourable responses to our work which they received from the public. b) 8 present at Bellerby practice on July 1.
c) On 19th July the meeting will be a celebration of Leyburn’s progress. d) The Training course & Practice at
Bellerby on 6/7 August will offer free camping on Fri/Sat & a £5 Bar-B-Q on the Saturday, organised by Elaine &
Charlie. Speak to the maitre d’hotel (JH) if you would like to participate. e) In September the last ROSA practice
will take place. Project complete! f) The October evening meeting will involve a display of artefacts & speaker from
Swaledale museum based at Reeth. g) ITV, in preparation for the second series of “The Dales”, have been given
several future Branch venues (eg Yorkshire Show, August training course), in the hope that this may give rise to
more exposure, naturally. h) Bill & Steve continue on Tuesdays at Hamptwaite on a retaining wall. Extra volunteers
welcome but phone Bill first to confirm – 01845 597 679.
7.5 “Caring for Life” Open Day, 18th June – This turned out a splendid day, with 13 members present. An
appreciative letter has been received by the organisers for our efforts & effectiveness.
7.6 Training Course, 25/26 june – JMcL reported 11 trainees attended, building 11 metres of wall from
scratch, having first dismantled it. No adverse comments recorded in the post-course questionnaire.
7.7 Shibden Phase II – DG reported 2 visits in the period, with the prospect of a final spurt on the “up-slope”
side, beginning with a length of boulder wall & finishing with an assortment of limestone. All stone now on site.
Dates are shown in the Short-term programme, below. Super-glue advised for the boulder wall.
7.8 Corporate Day, 29th June – Instigated by Price-Waterhouse-Cooper, a team-building day on the Chevin was
attended by 16 budding team players. An e-mail has expressed appreciation of a good day enjoyed by all. A cheque
for £540 (£30 per student) has been received. Many thanks to our own team of members who over-saw the
7.9 Thursday Group – See Bill for next venue. A short length of part-retaining wall built at Liz’s farm on
June 29 for which she expressed her appreciation. (Your correspondent, after surprisingly getting both the date &
venue correct on this occasion, enjoyed the bird-watching again).
(8) Short-term programme:
8th/22 July, 5 August Practice day – Brimham Rocks
12 – 14 July Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate
19 July Leyburn, evening meeting – a look back on what they’ve done so far
23/30 July, 20/21 August Shibden – On a slope – boulder wall followed by assorted limestone.
31 July Weeton Show
6/7 August Leyburn – Training course, Practice days, Bellerby, BBQ on Sat night
13/14 August Brimham Rocks – National Trust Open Day
Most Thursdays Practice day – a moving site at present - contact Bill Davis to confirm site.
9.1 Weeton Show, 31st July – Andrew K drew attention to this event & the need for volunteers. A list was
circulated at the meeting & this generated only 3 names by the end of the meeting. Please contact Andrew on 01423 734
449 to add your name to the list. This is a delightfully unstressed event & deserves our support. We do not want to cancel;
it’s up to us!
9.2 JMcL asked for an open discussion at the next meeting on the subject of widening the list of active
supporters available for training courses, demos & events generally. It will be on the next agenda.
9.3 Competitions – The following competitions were noted to the meeting by John Downie (0775 743 8180):
6th August – Emley; 14th August – Trawden (Lancs); 29th August – Kilnsey; 19th Sept – Nidderdale; 14th Oct – Thirsk
(Yorkshire Guild). Speak to John for entrance forms.
9.4 Andrew Keane drew the meeting’s attention to the passing of one of the Branch’s oldest friends – Fred,
Hazel’s husband, who had for a decade made us each welcome at the Yorkshire Show. Could the Branch instigate, build,
some form of permanent memorial on our show site? The meeting welcomed this & an approach will be made to Hazel in this
regard. A seat springs to mind; Hazel has always encouraged us to include one in our Show exhibit for her to enjoy during
each coming year.
9.5 Nick Ferguson (0777 4533 080) has a potential period of work walling in Vienna & is seeking a fit, “wall-
savvy” labourer. Date uncertain, but probably August. €15 per hour. Fancy a bit of Auf Wiedersehn, Pet? If so, speak to
9.6 Joanne, shortly to take over minute-taking at our meetings, drew the attention of members present to the
period spent by her predecessor in that role. (So you see, dear readers, it is possible to fool all of the people all of the
time). The spontaneous applause of the meeting clearly showed the appreciation the gathering had for Don’s productions
over the years. (As the distributor of these notes I must add my own thanks to Don for the very prompt appearance of his
tale of the meeting, giving me ample chance to hasten them on their way to the rest of the membership. Many thanks Don.
MS). May I add a plea on Joanne’s behalf – will those of you presenting reports on our activities please jot a few notes down
as an aide memoire.
The meeting having closed, we were addressed by Steven Allen from Cumbria, who brought us up to date with his work with
Andy Goldsworthy over recent years. Projects in Des Moines (Iowa), New Mexico & upper New York State featured and
once more demonstrated the results of collaboration between artist & craftsman. Questions were wide-ranging & the
answers came easily to a man whose contribution to walling is both unique & modestly understated. The meeting showed its
appreciation, not least of Steven’s support of the Branch since its inception. Thank you, Steven.
Next meeting: Tuesday 2nd August, at which John Butler will tell us something about the walls of Embsay & Eastby.
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