A 61 YEAR-OLD drystone waller has been named winner of the CLA's 2018 Millenium Wall competition.

Michael Coggins, from Ingelton near Carnforth, won with his entry for re-building a 2.5-metre high collapsed 24-metre U-shaped wall, which is encloses a water hole for cattle and sheep on a farm in Austwick, Noprth Yorkshire.

He began dry stone walling more than 20 years ago and was runner-up in the biennial competition in 2016.

His greatest challenge in re-constructing the wall was to find the right stones, with bigger ones incorporated at the base of the wall to give it extra strength. In addition, the back end of the wall was challenging to construct due to its height, requiring scaffolding to get it done.

Mr Coggins' advice for aspiring dry stone wallers is: "Take your time by not outpacing yourself, persevere, start small, and above all, enjoy yourself.

Head Judge John Pridmore, from the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild, said: "The wall was well packed to ensure a solid construction. His construction was of excellent quality where we struggled to find any fault. The irregular limestone was built tightly with great line and batter. The overall job showed a great level of skill and expertise."

Runner-up was Philip Beresford of High Bentham in Lancashire who restored a 160 metre stretch of wall in very steep terrain at Newby Head, Hawes. It had been down for 60 years.

Mr Pridmore said: "The wall he constructed was a challenging build up the side of a steep hill making the conditions quite difficult for a waller. The finished job looks lovely all the way up the valley side and has great views over the Ribblehead Viaduct."

Dorothy Fairburn, CLA Director North, said: "We have been fortunate to work with the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild in recognising the skills of stone wallers within the area. It is highly skilled work, and valued by locals and visitors alike. Michael is a worthy winner, and we thank the Guild for judging this competition."

A 1988 survey recorded more than 5,000 miles of stone walls in the Yorkshire Dales with some dating back to the Bronze Age, including on Burton Moor and Calverside in Swaledale.