I’m quite often asked how different or more difficult it is to build with round stones vs. flat. While it’s generally a quick reply about how round stones will slip into the valleys and gullies of each other while flat stone is in reality more difficult because if they are off horizontal it makes for a horrible wall. I was taught by the builder of this particular wall enclosing what was a trailer park at the time in Crooklands England that a good waller can build a wall with poor stone, and a poor waller will….. it’s a commentary on the selection of material and on how an experienced waller will at least try to source out good material when it’s possible to build a Dry Stone Wall.
What is rarely mentioned is the mixture of flat and round stone together. I believe that this is infinitely more difficult! Trying to bring round stone up to a position whereby a flat stone can look acceptable around it is very tricky. It’s something that is possible only with years of experience and years of walling with difficult stone. While this wall can be said to have a few minor issues the creativity of Andrew Loudon in this bit of work is highly evidenced. I first saw him combining this material in Cumbria on a project and marvelled at his ability to blend the two. It was only later in my career that the opportunity to combine the two materials came up. We tend to end up with either of the two but rarely combined here in Ontario.