Monday, 29 June 2009

Urban Art in the Scottish Highlands

A healthy squad of us - including bairns Ben, Isaac and Beth - went camping in stunning Highland Perthshire on Saturday. Ostensibly there to take in the Fourth Element Urban Art exhibition at the highly impressive Aberfedly Watermill we took yonks getting away from Embra so held off on the art til Sunday. We'd usually camp in the wild but the presence of kids, meant we stayed at the Aberfeldy Caravan and Campsite - a right well appointed joint with friendly staff and punters. Special shout to Ungs and Kase, the Dutch guys who bought a coupla jars of Mel's homemade jam.

So Saturday evening was spent sipping lagers, playing chasey wi the bairns, knockin up some badminton, strolling and skimming stones by the bonny banks of the River Tay. Mel and Seony enjoyed a wee paddle which lead to the inevitable water fight - silly, damp girls. We also had a boot the cheap plastic fitba as far as you can along the path competition (Scottie B won).

Aberfeldy's a particularly fecund part of Scotland and at this time of year, the variety of trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and flowers looks and smells spectacular. It also hosts an abundance of wildlife - my own favourites being the big birds o prey (sure i saw an osprey on the Sunday) and the bats which wheel past yer lugs and at one point whizzed between Mand and me at lower than waist height.

Anyway, the art. Woke up on Sunday feeling nane too shabby - amazing how well you can feel on 10 cans o lager and 4 hours kip when you've breathed real fresh air and drunk plenty water. The staff and punters still seemed to be speakin to us so we must have behaved better than usual (those bairns are a civilising influence).

As mentioned, the Watermill's a crackin establishment with an impressive bookshop featuring a lot of books about the area and by local authors, a decent coffee shop (tasty orange and poppyseed cake, Mand loved her lemon drizzle number) and of course a gallery full of work by Banksy, D*Face, Blek Le Rat, Dolk, Eelus, The London Police, Insect Boy, Street Improvements and Embra's own Elph. It was kinda weird seeing this sort of art trussed up in frames rather than on walls but i loved most of it and would gladly have splashed some cash on a print if i had a proper job and a spot more disposable income. I think Dunk o Cupar could have spent a bob or two himself.

My 2 fave pieces were those above - D*Face's 'Statue of Liberty' and Banksy's 'Grannies'. The Watermill's lined up a varied programme of literary and visual arts events and i'll mos def make the effort to pop in next time i'm in the area. Reckon we've all rediscovered that campin bug so it shouldnae be long til we're back. Come on the long hot summer.


  1. Looks like a good venue that, a wee visit in the summer mibbies, no sure aboot the tent tho' Like a bed too much.

  2. I think this is a first for me; reading and considering camping and urban art both at the same time. It's just not right! ;-)

    That Aberfedly Watermill place looks fantastic! Bookmarked that... if I ever get back over there... thanks!

  3. At last an excellent opportunity to revisit the Birks o' Aberfeldy - oh.

  4. Acht, Dougie, in these relatively impoverished times, the tent keeps the cost down. And it's fun fun fun when there's a crowd (we had 18) and you get big chats all night long. And inflatable beds are quite cheap and comfy.

    Ms TB, Urban Art and outdoors pursuits are a great combination. Next time we go to that specific part o Scotland (mid August) we're hoping to do some kayaking or canyoning. Lotsa that kinda ting in the area and now art and books as well. Yeehaar!.

    Monty, the Birks is a beautiful spot. I reckon this is one of the most naturalyy forested parts of the British Isles. Can't back that up with any facts, it just looks like it to me. Plus there are all those shooge Redwoods and Douglas Firs from North America in the vicinity. I love dem trees.

  5. Sounds like a barry time was had by all Naldo.
    I spent a magical weekend at the Birks many years ago. Stayed at a wee hotel called the Guinach House. No idea if its still there or not. It was very olde worlde and I'll always remember sitting in the empty lounge one evening after a strenuous walk through the Birks (glorious in autumn). The 'lounge' of course being the real thing, not a lounge bar. The owner came in and asked if I 'required' anything, so I asked for a malt whisky and a cigar. He brought them on a little silver tray, the whisky in a crystal glass with a crystal decanter of water beside it. The cigar came with a cigar cutter and a little box of matches and a posh ashtray. He set it all on a little antique side table with green baize on it. I sipped the whisky and smoked the cigar and flicked through Country Life and for an hour I was on another planet..... sigh.

  6. Spot on, Neil. I reckon if we all had to describe what we did last weekend, the word "barry" would feature quite prominently.

    You're such a sophisticate with your malt and ceegar. Were you per chance wearing a maroon quilted smoking jacket at the time?

    Thon place still exists byrraway. Not been but it looks galdie here:

    If i get the poppy together, might treat ma lemon to a wee trip there sometime round autumn. Could be just the dab.

  7. Good finds! Sounds like an interesting trip, cheers for sharing.

  8. I hate clowns and poor Lady Liberty!

    Sounds like a good trip. :-)