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Moffat hosts traditional skills event

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By Fiona Reid
Moffat hosts traditional skills event

FIVE days of training and talks aimed at raising the profile of Moffat and its significant built heritage are underway.

The event started yesterday and will run until this weekend.

At the centre are sessions in traditional building techniques, with participants learning a variety of processes at the Old Churchyard, including mortar mixing, rubble building and repair and rough wracking.

They are removing cement pointing and vegetation from the rubble built sole surviving gable of the 15th century parish church. Boulders will be re-bedded in and repointed with hot mix lime, stabilising the structure and ensuring its survival.

As well as the practical sessions, talks are taking place and tonight (Thurs) Nigel Copsey will lead a technical lecture on earth mortars and hot mixed lime, open to the public; and on Sunday afternoon there will be a public Q&A session with the experts.

It is being funded by a £5882 award from Historic Environment Scotland and delivered by Humble Heritage and Working Party Traditional Skills Training for Moffat Heritage Trust.

Niamh Ní Shúilleabháin, chair of Moffat Heritage Trust, said: “This is a unique opportunity to upskill building professionals, novices and the whole community in learning about the topography, materials and resources of our vernacular built heritage, their care and repair and to build upon the fact that we as a community commissioned and funded our own Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Plan back in 2019.

“In addition to its funders, Moffat Heritage Trust would like to express sincere thanks to Adams Napier Partnership, Hoddam Contracting and W J Murray Fencing, who have sponsored the sand, PPE and gloves required for the training, and to the innumerable volunteers that have dedicated their time to making the event a success.”

Humble Heritage have sent 12 professionals in construction, architecture and conservation for three days of hands-on traditional skills training, followed by the “Saving the Gable” Working Party.

Meanwhile, Moffat Heritage Trust has invited the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings Scotland to hold its AGM at the town hall this weekend.

On the day there will be activities designed to give residents, trainees and visitors a full picture of Moffat’s historic buildings, what they are made of, how they are constructed, and how to ensure their survival for the future.

There will also be a walking tour of Moffat led by an architectural historian.

Niamh added: “It is hoped that the training events will make a valuable contribution to local knowledge of how to properly care and repair for the historic structures that represent an important part of places’ identity.

“Long term, it is hoped that those who have completed the beginners’ training will be able to come together to repair other structures in Moffat using the vital knowledge and skills that they have gained.”

Photos and video recordings of the training and lectures will be kept as a resource for the town.

(Pic by Visit Moffat)

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