Stone me! Royal visitors at comp
THE Princess Royal gave her seal of approval to a Cotswold drystone walling competition.
Princess Anne and her husband, retired Vice Admiral Tim Laurence welcomed the yearly challenge to their estate at Gatcombe Park for the first time. The couple watched the entrants in action and later the princess presented the trophies.
The competition is organised every year by the Cotswolds Conservation Board whose rural skills officer David Molloy said there'd even been local winners.
"Alistair Bidmead from Minchinhampton won the professional class and the beginners' pairs were won by father and son Arthur and Robin Witchell who're from Gatcombe," Mr Molloy said. "The Princess seemed pleased to be there and chatted to competitors."
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A drystone waller from Oxfordshire took the amateur prize and an entrant from Northamptonshire the novice.
The competition was to strip down and rebuild an old traditional Cotswold drystone wall. Judges took into account the new walls' foundations and their batter, the sloped angle of its sides. Mr Molloy said the walls' infill and copestones gained competitors' points too.
"It was to celebrate the skill of drystone walling in the Cotswolds because they are such a prominent part of the landscape," Mr Molloy said.