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 Something new in the garden...

I believe all things have energy of a kind, particularly things that have been around for many, many years. I have always found ancient standing stones fascinating and perhaps that is what drew me to my latest garden acquisition.

As I am sure anyone reading my posts will know, I love my garden, and I also love interesting pieces of art. I have a few small quirky items in the garden, but I really wanted something special that would convey a sense of ‘place’, and cause those seeing it pause and take in the surrounding landscape. I also wanted to create a space in the garden for quiet contemplation.

Eventually after much searching, I came across, Stuart Murdoch, a stone sculptor based in Speyside. I explained I was looking for something raw, natural and rugged that would look like it belonged on a wild Scottish coastline. I described the garden, St. Ninians Bay and the sounds of the shore birds to him, so that he could get a 'feel' for where the stone would be standing.  

I also spent a long time trying to think of suitable words to have on the stone, and although I looked at many Scottish verse, even a work by David McBeth about Bute written in the 1800’s, I kept coming back to the same evocative poem – ‘Sea-Fever’ by John Masefield. Stuart took my chosen verse and added a beautiful image of a wading curlew below it. He didn’t stop there, taking inspiration from the carved stones on nearby Inchmarnock, he added some Ogham script which reads ‘sealladh mara’, Gaelic for Seaview. The design was complete.

Stuart lives on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park and some time ago had found a large, dramtic stone nearby. He had been waiting for just the right project to use it for, and suggested it might work for Seaview. He thinks the stone may well have been around for centuries, and may even be "Dalradian Psammite", which is found in the Grampians and Highlands. Although bigger than I had originally planned, I just knew that this was the stone for Seaview. That was back in early 2023.

The carving was completed towards the end of 2023, however, it was not until this year that we were able to arrange to have the stone installed. Late February, the stone (a she) was loaded onto a truck up in Speyside and travelled all the way to Bute via Colintraive, finally arriving safely at the Straad. Once there, extra help was needed to get it into the garden and that came in the form of Ronnie Robertson and his trusty lifting gear. The stone was delicately hoisted over the hedge and finally settled into her new home, framed by the beautiful hills of Arran. Seamlessly blending into the landscape as if she had always belonged there. 

I am sure she will look even more beautiful once the hedge is in full bloom, and I have completed some planting around her. 

The rawness of the stone and the beauty of Stuart’s carving make her quite a powerful piece, there is something palpable about her energy. I hope that others seeing her will be equally moved by her beauty and strength.