Which way does star pull?
Published at 21:35, Wednesday, 27 June 2012
AS I watched the TV programme about Orbit, the new sculpture next to the Olympic stadium in London, I realised that the architect working alongside sculptor Anish Kapoor, was the one whose design was chosen for the Gretna Landmark sculpture which is hoped will be in place for Scotland’s big year 2014.
This artwork was the subject of the last Patron’s club lunch talk at the Buccleuch Centre.
Jan Hogarth, who gave the talk is the project director for the Gretna Landmark Trust which is trying to raise the £4.8 million required to turn Cecil Balmond’s winning design Star of Caledonia into reality, a sculpture to mark the boundary between England and Scotland at Gretna.
Her audience at the Buccleuch Centre were impressed by this stunning piece of art which will pay homage to Scottish innovation and science, fields in which Scotland once led the world at the time of the Scottish Enlightenment when Edinburgh-born physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell discovered electromagnetism.
At one time James Clerk Maxwell lived in Dumfriesshire with his parents when they moved to Glengair from Edinburgh.
His contribution to modern physics is greatly underestimated. Albert Einstein gave him credit when he said, “The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell’s equations of the electromagnetic field.”
Balmond’s design for the Star of Caledonia incorporates Maxwell’s ideas in its curves, suggestive of waves, and the fact that it will be lit at night.
Jan Hogarth’s Langholm audience were more sceptical as regards the site chosen which is a field to the side of Gretna Gateway within view from the M74, asking questions about traffic problems.
And in giving his vote of thanks Gavin Graham said that as chairman of the Langholm Walks group he had put a lot of work into trying to motivate people to visit Langholm and he didn’t like the idea of a landmark which would entice visitors to use the M74 instead of the A7 when they came north.
When Jan Hogarth spoke to the Langholm art club a few years ago, she talked of a project which would give prominence to the Debateable Lands between Gretna and Canonbie.
Two prominent environmental artists, land artist and designer, Charles Jencks, and sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, who both live in Dumfriesshire, had been asked to develop the plan, which would at least bring visitors nearer Langholm. But there was no mention of this at the Buccleuch Centre talk.
Myself and my fellow walkers were under the impression that one could walk anywhere in Scotland provided it wasn’t on private property and provided one obeyed the Countryside Code.
So, a couple of weeks ago, we were taken aback when we were stopped by the farmer’s son and told we couldn’t walk up to the Minsca windfarm.
We were approaching it from the Langholm to Lockerbie road, through the gate, and had read the signpost put up by Infinis, which acquired the windfarm in 2011.
It confirmed what we’d already checked before leaving Langholm, namely that visitors had to observe the Countryside Code, not climb on turbine ladders (as if, at our age) and not approach livestock.
So presumably visitors are allowed here.
We were on the track and heading up to the turbines when a tractor appeared and we were stopped in our tracks. When we asked the reason for not being allowed to go further, we were told “The cattle – and there are other issues.”
There were cattle and calves but they were at a distance, nowhere near us.
And whatever these other issues were, we didn’t find out as we about-turned rather than face a confrontation.
But we would like to know if the farmer is within his rights preventing walkers going up to the windfarm when Infinis, the owners, seem to have no objection.
I missed a rare wildlife photo opportunity when I wasn’t at home to take Doreen Nicol’s phone call telling me there were several herons on a tree on the Castleholm, the noble fir next to the meeting of the waters.
Since then Jean Young has spoken to me and she’d seen them too from her house. They looked like two parents and three young.
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