THE LEGACY of one of East Lothian’s most famous sons, John Muir, has been immortalised through a five-metre high steel bear sculpted by renowned Scottish artist, Andy Scott, the man behind the ‘Kelpies’ and other well-loved sculptures.

This remarkable sculpture, fixed to a base on a mound planted with wildflowers. It will be illuminated by lighting using renewable energy. The bear is located off the A1 in close proximity to the Spott Roundabout at Dunbar.

John
Muir, born in Dunbar in 1838, played a key role in the development of America’s
national parks. He emigrated from Scotland in 1849 and is famous for
petitioning the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill, establishing Yosemite
National Park. The bear is symbolic of John Muir’s travels through the far-off
wilderness of America’s west, in the Rockies and his advocacy for National
Parks.

The sculpture forms part of the mixed-use Hallhill development, which started on site in 1999. It has already delivered sports facilities, 56 acres of community woodland together with 1,200 homes including over 200 affordable family homes with approximately 320 currently under development, as well as school provision and commercial and retail outlets.

The
event was marked by a reception comprising local dignitaries and school
children from Dunbar Primary at the site, with Mrs Brenda McNeil from Hallhill
Developments unveiling a plaque on the sculpture to mark the event.

A
competition will now be undertaken with local schools to give the bear a name.

Situated
at the eastern gateway to Dunbar, the location has been selected as it forms
the primary gateway into the town and is visible from the east coast railway
line and A1.

The sculpture is made of welded steel
and is fabricated from steel plates of various thicknesses, heavy at the bottom
and lighter towards the top, giving the structure an inherent strength.
Visitors can access it via a walkway.

Andy Scott, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, has completed over 70 projects across the UK and internationally. His distinctive hand-crafted figurative sculptures combine traditional skill with contemporary fabrication techniques.

Kids from Dunbar Primary School admiring the sculpture

Commenting
on the erection of the sculpture he said:

“It is fantastic to see this sculpture finally being built as part of the Hallhill development, especially in memory of such an influential character as John Muir, which is particularly apt given today’s focus on the environment.

“This bear sculpture will provide an opportunity to enlighten people about the man and his work. It is a symbol of the wilderness John Muir was such a passionate advocate of and is a testament to his incredible desire to protect the natural environment.”

Angela
Leitch, Chief Executive of East Lothian Council, said:

“We’re
absolutely delighted that Andy Scott’s latest eye-catching sculpture has been
unveiled here in East Lothian. It’s a highly appropriate way of paying tribute
to John Muir, one of the county’s most famous sons, who played such an
influential role in the development of America’s national parks.

“It complements fantastic attractions such as John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar and the John Muir Way, which continues to be a popular trail with visitors and locals alike. At five metres high, we’re sure the sculpture will become a real talking point, helping to draw even more visitors to the area.”

Ken
Ross from Hallhill Developments commented:

“The
Hallhill development, which this bear sculpture forms an integral part of, has
brought tremendous benefits to the area, including almost 600 jobs together
with new much-needed homes, commercial and retail opportunities.

“The
sculpture reflects the ethos of this sustainable development, which is part of
the Dunbar community, where families can work, live and play. It is located
next to good schools, public transport links, amenities and facilities, in the
sunniest place in Scotland.

“Acting
as a welcoming landmark to the town, it will not only contribute to the
emerging identity of Dunbar’s new gateway but has the potential to draw people
into the area to find out more about John Muir.”



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