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Free DIY course for Kirkwall’s historic homes

Kirkwall Town Centre propertiesHouseholders in Kirkwall’s historic centre can now get free expert training on how to repair their homes through the Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative (KTHI).

The Orkney College training is available to those living within the Kirkwall conservation area, and will cover works to sash and case windows, lime pointing and harling, slating and masonry repairs and more.

Richard Ritch, project manager at KTHI said: “With older properties, historically accurate materials and techniques should be used. Sometimes this requires specialist skills, but folk may be in a position to tackle smaller maintenance and repairs on their properties themselves.

“We are, of course, keen that folk working on their own properties have the chance to develop their knowledge of traditional construction techniques through this training, to help keep historic properties in good condition.

“We’re also inviting expressions of interest for a future NPA in the Conservation of Stone Masonry course for contractors. It’s usually an expensive course, but it is free through us, so we’d urge any interested tradespeople or their employers to get in contact.”

Erik Tait of Scapa Contractors has already completed the contractor’s course. He said: “The course provided a good understanding of the principles of dealing with traditional buildings. With the support available from KTHI and the college it is a really good opportunity for those working in this field to develop their understanding and expertise further.”

Michael Riddell, curriculum leader from Orkney College, runs both the contractor and householder courses for the KTHI.

He said: “It’s great that local contractors, through both the Kirkwall and before that the Stromness THI, have been able to develop their skill base to help ensure that Orkney’s older properties are maintained in the right way – and if we can help householders to do the same then this would further help conserve our unique built heritage in Orkney.”

For full details, see the advert in this week’s The Orcadian or email dorothy.learmonth@uhi.ac.uk