‘The stone is a potent symbol of the Scots who went abroad,’ says Goldsworthy, ‘of the tremendous upheaval they made, or were forced to make, when they left Scotland… I would hope that collectively these arches are a celebration and monument to the Scottish people and the travels they have made, and that they will act as a connection between those who have left and those who have stayed here.’
Click on the above image to watch a 360 degree view of the arch at Colt Hill
Click on the above image to watch a 360 degree view of the arch at Bail Hill
Click on the above image to watch a timelapse of the Bail Hill arch in construction
Andy Goldsworthy is one of the world’s foremost artists working directly in the landscape. Striding Arches – a series of grand, self-supporting arches standing on hilltops surrounding the natural amphitheatre at Cairnhead – is the first of Goldsworthy’s large-scale projects involving multiple structures to be installed in a public landscape in Scotland.
Each arch stands just under four metres high, with a span of about seven metres, and consists of 31 blocks of hand-dressed red sandstone weighing approximately 27 tons.
Other arches made of Dumfriesshire sandstone by Goldsworthy stand in Canada, the United States and New Zealand, echoing the travels of emigrating Scots over the last 200 years or so, and of the sandstone carried as ballast by timber ships making the return voyage to North America.
Crucial to Goldsworthy’s selection of sites was his stipulation that no matter which arch you find yourself at, you should always be able to see the other two: the three arches are linked together by sightlines. ‘What I am working is the space, the line, the stuff that is intangible, the atmosphere of the work, the feel of it, the bits in between. That for me is the work.’
The Striding Arches project has come out of the mutual ambitions of Andy Goldsworthy, Cairnhead Community Forest Trust and the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Association to site a permanent work in a public landscape space in south-west Scotland, not far from where the artist has chosen to make his home.