Findlay, Glover & Macaulay

8 November 2017

Unique granite heritage sculpture unveiled

A unique three tonne granite sculpture has been unveiled in Elrick, Westhill to celebrate the history of the Aberdeenshire village.

The sculpture, which has been hand engraved by Bruce Walker, has been cut from a huge piece of natural granite, from the Craigenlow Quarry in Dunecht. Mr Walker, who was born in Aberdeenshire, is a renowned sculptor who trained in Aberdeen in the 1960s, and was one of the first to perfect diamond hand-engraving on polished granite.

The Elrick memorial is situated in the grounds of the Hampton by Hilton Hotel, Elrick, which is owned by international property developer, Bricks Capital, and managed by Interstate. The unique piece of art was commissioned by Findlay, Glover and Macaulay, who sold the land to the hotel group.

The artwork depicts Elrick of a bygone age, presenting a proud Clydesdale horse carved from the natural rock, surrounded by traditional agricultural equipment. The sculpture is supported by a 1m plinth with polished granite plaques, which are engraved with Doric poetry and tales from local storytellers and heritage experts.

In order to allow the sculptor to capture the essence of the village, Mr Walker met with Adam Craigmile Senior, an 102-year old resident, who lived in the area until his death in 2016. Mr Craigmile’s father owned the Broadstraik Inn and Farm during the early 1900s. Mr Walker was inspired by Mr Craigmile’s memories of local agricultural life and the history of the Clydesdale horses, blacksmith and wheelwright in the area.

Mike Macaulay, chairman, Findlay Glover and Macaulay Limited, said: “We are delighted to present this incredible piece of historical art to the local community in association with Bricks Capital and the Hampton by Hilton Hotel. Bruce Walker has created something quite unique, based upon real-life stories of Elrick days gone by. The indigenous stone sculpture will play a significant role in helping people young and old to learn about local history, and feel a sense of pride in the achievements of craftsmen in the area.”

Mr Walker said: “The inspiration to use Clydesdale horses came from the incredible stories I heard and in particular about the six pairs of Clydesdales which lived in Elrick at the turn of the last century. Crofters would hire the horses to work on the land, keeping wheelwrights and blacksmiths in business all year round. And the blacksmiths in the area played a vital role during the Great War by supplying shoes for military horses at war on the Continent.

“Working on the sculpture has been quite emotional for me as it brought back fond memories of my Dad, after a day’s labour on the farm, lifting me up onto the mane of the Clydesdale horse. I was four year old at the time.

“There were so many stories, the difficulty was scaling them back to just one piece of art, but the plaques on the plinth are able to help tell the tales of the past using Doric verse which brings the piece to life.”

Robbie Shepherd added: “I am delighted to be asked to unveil this magnificent sculpture here at Elrick as a lasting legacy of what was a vibrant way of village life.

“Born and brought up in Dunecht, the son of the village souter, I can well appreciate the role played by local craftsmen and women over the years. The Clydesdale horse symbolises our agricultural past and an important focus of rural life in my young day, something that must be preserved.”