Traditional Roofing Masterclass

20 April 2018
Venue: Charlestown Workshops, Fife

The roof is often the most striking feature of a building and can be the most original and least altered part of its fabric. In Scotland, a myriad of materials have been used as roof coverings from natural slate, stone, metals and fired earth tiles to heather, marram grass and broom for Highland thatching.

The purpose of the roof can be easily summarised which is to collect all rain and snow and shed from the building and increasingly important, offer a degree of insulation and prevent the spread of flame in the event of a fire. It must also be able to deal with the moisture that is generated within the building and environmental issues primarily wind which will cause materials to lift and tear and heat which causes them to expand and contract.

Rather less obvious and a surprise to many people is the fact that roofs can account for up to 40% of the total volume of a building and can be roughly equivalent to a storey and a half of the building’s height.

This day will look at the barriers and opportunities to preserve the character and appearance of our traditional roofs including skills and availability of materials.

Join us for an alternative Masterclass with opportunities to view demonstrations of traditional roofing practices and a chance to ‘have a go’ (so don’t wear a suit!). All PPE will be supplied (except for site boots)


  • Roz Artis – Scottish Lime Centre Trust
  • Neil Grieve – SLCT Trustee
  • Fiona Fisher – Conservation Officer, Fife Council
  • Scot Ansgeulaiche – Highland Thatching

Course Programme:

09.30 – 09.45 Welcome and context for the day Rosamond Artis, Director, SLCT
09.45 – 10.15 Overview of Scottish roof coverings Neil Grieve
SLCT Trustee
10.15 – 11.15 Denigration of the character and appearance of Scottish roofs in the name of repair and maintenance Fiona Fisher
Conservation Officer, Fife Council
11.15 – 11.30 Coffee
12.15 – 13.00 Traditional Highland thatching practices Scot Ansgeulaiche
Highland Thatching
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.45
Demonstrations and ‘have a go’ sessions including:
  • Traditional Highland thatching
  • Sizing and trimming Scottish slates
  • Setting out a roof for traditional random diminishing courses
  • Lead welding and bossing
Darren Saville of Harrison & Duff Ltd

Neil Grieve

Scot Ansgeulaiche of Highland Thatching

Scott MacAskill of MacAskill Masonry

15.45 – 16.00 Summary of the day Roz Artis

To book a place on this masterclass, please click here, or call on 01383 872722.