The Pinning Stones (2014)

2015 – ‘The Pinning Stones’, commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire does not lack assets, natural or human. From the Cairngorms National Park, the largest such in the British Isles, to the spectacular coasts of Buchan and Kincardineshire, it holds immense and varied treasures of landscape, ora and fauna. For millennia, its inhabitants have depended on those natural resources: the wheat, oats and barley grown in the better elds, the cattle and sheep fed on pasture and moor; the wood, clay and stone for building; game from the heather and sh from burn and sea; and now, the oil and the gas and the wind. In making the most of those assets, again over millennia, the peoples of North East Scotland have created unique ways of life expressed in their cultures. 

The traces are everywhere. There are obvious ones, like the stone circles, tombs and monuments, vitri ed forts and hill towns, symbol stones, kirks, abbeys and chapels, castles, manses and great houses, gardens and parks, Royal Burghs and planned towns, distilleries and warehouses, colleges and academies, village halls, institutes and so much more. 

There are less obvious traces too, like the tracks that people have walked for 10,000 years, the unique language of the ‘loons an quines’, the satire of Bothy Ballads, the place name legacies of long lost people, the airs, the steps, the stories and all the rest. And there is the rich diversity of today’s culture, connecting all that past and its traditions with new ideas from a world of global travel, virtual communication and advanced technology, in which ever more people earn a living as artists and the rest of us spend ever more time and money enjoying what they do, or doing it ourselves, for the love of it.’