The first REPS annual forum was held at the Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet on 19th and 20th September 2023 with the theme ‘Towards a European Drystone Cultural Route: Strategies for Sustainable Tourism and Local Development’.
Following an introduction to the Council of Europe Heritage Routes, the public forum heard presentations from four of the partners. This was followed by presentations from two members of the scientific committee and from two local experts. Later two more members of the scientific committee made presentations by zoom.
On Day 2 a sunny morning provided an excellent backdrop to a visit to several dry stone heritage features in the Gatehouse area. The partners first visited the historic ha-ha at Cally and the unique sunken dyke before seeing the dyke which had been reconstructed by two sets of Forestry and Land Scotland apprentices. the group then took in the many fine dykes on the way to Kirkandrews, where they saw the achievements of James Brown in the arts and crafts style. Following visits to Castle Haven and the site of the recent Dry Stone Walling Training Weekend at Rainton, the group made their way to Laggan where contemporary stone features prominently in the venue’s design.