By Carl Royle
Musician Adam Clarke knows his rock but the stones are more his passion these days.
Greenfield-based Adam is one of the North West’s leading dry stone wallers and has the trophies to prove it.
His latest ‘hit’ came in Cumbria, scooping two accolades at a Friends of the Lake District event at Nags Head Farm in Hoff, near Appleby.
Facing competition from nearly 20 other construction workers, Adam completed a 32-metre section of wall to become champion waller as well as winning the Professional Class.
“There are about 15 events all over the country and me and a lot of young wallers enter them every year,” said Jeff passing on his skills to rookie wallers Josh Rhodes and Josh Parkin from Mossley.
“I really enjoy going to them. It’s a good social vent as much as anything because you get people coming from all over the country.
“I have probably done about seven competitions now and won five of them.”
Adam, a familiar figure in the village with his border collie Jeff began stone walling under the watchful eye of master craftsman Carl Watson from Grotton.
That was 14 years ago and he and his work are much in demand.
Along with sheep, rain and hills Saddleworth has an extensive network of drystone walls not all in top repair.
“There is loads of work all year round,” he told the Independent.
“Many of the walls were put up in the 1800s. And a lot of them are past their sell by date now. In some cases, it’s second time round re-building.
“After I started I received a Pinnacle Award from Prince Charles to start me up and keep the craft alive,” said Adam currently with jobs at Scouthead and Diggle on his order books.
Ruth Kirk, landscape engagement officer for Friends of the Lake District said: “Cumbria boasts some of the most highly skilled wallers in the country.
“But we were delighted to see that our competition this year attracted wallers from Yorkshire and Wales too, providing some spirited rivalry.
“Above all, it was great to see another section of wall rebuilt which will stand strong into the next century and beyond.
“It’s vital we don’t lose the skills needed to look after these much-loved features of our landscape.”