Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The West Lothian Solar System

Now that it's getting nice again you should go and visit some or all of the Kirkhill Pillar Project sculptures, launched last summer. Shown left is the Pluto sculpture, located in Beecraigs Country Park.

11 pieces of art in West Lothian are the outcome of this fascinating community arts project, making a sculpture trail around the landscape. The centre of this new solar system is the Sun, a giant lightbox on top of Broxburn Academy. My favourite sculpture is Neptune, shown below. It's a stained glass lantern on the church at Kingscavil.

The project is inspired by, and re-creates, a scale model solar system built in the area in the 18th century by the Earl of Erskine. The Kirkhill Pillar itself, the keystone of the original group of planets, is inscribed with astronomical tables. The demolition of Kirkhill House meant the Pillar had to be relocated; it is now outside the visitor centre in Almondell & Calderwood Country Park. Almondell is one of the hidden gems of West Lothian. Beautiful place. The visitor centre is an old stable block with a walled garden beside the river.

Access is easy from Edinburgh and Glasgow. There's a map on the site, Along with directions for several walks. You can also reach the sculptures by bicycle, making use of the canal tow-path. The project is managed by Artlink Edinburgh and the Lothians, who appointed Lorna Waite and Donald Urquhart as lead writer & lead artist to work with a group of local people. If you'd like Artlink to post you a fold-out map, drop them a line. Loved working with them on the project.


Jenny Capon said...

And might I add, they've got a very clever website..

straight from the den said...