A hot sunny day added to the challenge at Friends of the Lake District’s Annual Dry Stone Walling Competition on Saturday 18th May. 

The event took place at Low Beckside Farm, Mungrisdale, which is owned and run by the UK-wide educational charity The Ernest Cook Trust.

Entrants from across Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire gathered to compete in four classes; professional, amateur, novice and veteran. They completed the rebuilding of a total of 37 metres of dry stone wall – a traditional skill where walls are built without using any mortar to bind the stones together. 

The competition was also the first of six competitions in a Dry Stone Walling Grand Prix which is held across Cumbria, Northumberland, Wales and Yorkshire from May to August.

The wallers’ work was judged by Andrew Mason from Old Town, near Kirkby Lonsdale. Mason has won best wall winner in the Professional Class/Overall nine times in this competition. The cash prizes were awarded by John Dunning CBE, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant in Cumbria.

41-year-old Adam Clarke from Saddleworth won best professional waller and best section of wall on the field. He started dry stone walling around 18 years ago and has taken part in a number of Friends of the Lake District walling competitions over the years. 

Adam runs a dry stone walling businesses and employs apprentices, one of whom, 23 year old Josh Parkin, took home first prize in the amateur section of Saturday’s competition.

photo of all the wallers

Adam said: “It’s not just about the competition, it’s a social thing as well because you get the chance to meet up with wallers from all over the place. I had a great day and I was happy to have been awarded first place. It’s also great to pass on what I know about walling to younger people through my work and I’m really pleased that Josh won first place in his category too.”

Competition organiser Kay Andrews from Friends of the Lake District said: “This was a brilliant day which really showcased the best of the best in dry stone walling skills. Well done to everybody involved. Dry stone walling is a heritage skill and the walls are an important part of Cumbria's cultural identity. And dry stone walls aren’t just attractive landscape features, they are vital for creating boundaries and as habitats for all kinds of wildlife, so it’s important that we’re helping keep this skill alive.

“We want to thank everybody who took part in the day and the people who came and supported the wallers. We also want to thank the Deputy Lord-Lieutenant for awarding the prizes, Andrew Mason for judging, the Ernest Cook Trust for hosting the competition and the Cumbria Branch of the Dry Stone Walling Association.”

This was the 40th time that Friends of the Lake District has run the annual competition. The first one was held in 1980 and in the years since there have only been four occasions when the competition didn’t happen: once because of the foot and mouth outbreak and for three times due to Covid restrictions. 

Competition Results:

Class 1 Professional

1st – Adam Clarke, Saddleworth
2nd – Steven Allen, Tebay
3rd – Cuthbert Noble, Huddersfield

Class 2 Amateur/Open

1st –  Josh Parkin, Saddleworth
2nd – Jack Palmer, Kendal
3rd – Paul Woodmass, Crosby Garrett

Class 3 Novice/Juniors

1st – Jabob May, Huddersfield
2nd – David Evans, Crosby Ravensworth

Class  4 Veterans

1st –  Stephen Richardson, Dacre
2nd – Ian Thompson, Carnforth
3rd – Robert Scutt, Kendal

The prize for best female waller went to Lydia Noble from Shepley, West Yorkshire.