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Historic Scotland stonemasons show their pedigree in competition wins

19 June 2012

                                 The winning team from Historic Scotland’s training unit in Elgin were John Reid (left), of Elgin, and Calum MacDonald, from Nairn

Stonemasons at Historic Scotland have proved they are amongst the best in the United Kingdom following their performances in two recent competitions.

The agency’s stonemasons excelled in the UK Masonry Skills Challenge, and at the Scottish Inter College Apprentice Stonemasonry Competition.

In the UK event, George Marshall and John Reid, who are both studying at Historic Scotland’s Elgin facility, finished first-equal in the Scottish/Northern Irish heat, and went on to finish fifth-equal in the overall UK winners section. The Elgin training unit finished third in the UK for the second year running.

The Historic Scotland winners now go forward to the finals in Preston later this year.

In the Scottish contest - the Inter College Apprentice Stonemasonry Competition sponsored by Historic Scotland and supported by Construction Skills, the agency’s team from Elgin took first place.

Held annually since 2009, the Scottish competition is open to stonemasonry colleges across the country, and aims to raise awareness of traditional skills. Entrants are assessed on their hewing and building talents, and winners selected by assessors from the stonemasonry industry.

The runners-up in this year’s contest were Edinburgh’s Telford College, with City of Glasgow College placed third.

Winners are rewarded with work experience abroad, further raising the profile of skills training in Scotland. They also benefit from gaining a greater understanding of buildings and heritage repair techniques internationally.

Head of Traditional Skills at Historic Scotland, Ian Walker said: “The competition highlights the tremendous skill we have throughout the stone masonry industry here in Scotland.

“The work completed by the three teams, from Edinburgh's Telford College, City of Glasgow College and the Elgin training Unit, is a great credit to the students and lecturers from these centres.”

The Elgin team which triumphed in this year’s competition comprised John Reid and Calum MacDonald. Both win a trip to the Trondheim Stone Festival in Norway.

Photo caption
The winning team from Historic Scotland’s training unit in Elgin were John Reid (left), of Elgin, and Calum MacDonald, from Nairn, who took top place in the recent Inter College Stonemasonry Apprentice Competition.

Notes for editors:

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  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                       Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

David Gray
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805