Getting on the trail of new modern artistry
Art installations are now on-site in the national park
A life- s i zed, multicoloured metal bull and a mirrored cube are among the striking installations which form a new arts trail launched this week in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
The bull has been crafted by the artist behind Edinburgh Airport’s iconic towering thistles and the scenery-viewing cube - which ‘disappears’ into its beautiful surroundings - are just two of 13 features in the BLiSS trail, which links the villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans, deep in the heart of ‘Rob Roy Country’.
The initiative is the brainchild of LETi, the Loch Earn Tourism Information group.
LETi has established the innovative arts trail to encourage more visitors to stop at, spend time in, and enjoy the villages and their spectacular settings by creating a new attraction for people of all ages to enjoy – providing a boost to tourism in the area and the local economy.
The group also wanted to create the trail to commemorate and celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016. The name BLiSS - suggested by LETi member Kenny Higgins of the Strathyre Outdoors Community Interest Company - is made up of the first letters of the four villages with the letter ‘ i’ representing both innovation and the universal tourism information symbol.
The collection includes works by artists Rob Mulholland, Kev Paxton, Heather Gray, June McEwan, Iain Chalmers, Lynne Schroder and Jeremy Cunningham as well as architects Ruairidh Moir, Daniel Tyler and Angus Ritchie. In addition, a group of third year art students from Perth College, University of The Highlands and Islands, is developing a conceptual art team project as part of a new degree course. The artworks will be promoted beside Loch Lubnaig, The Broch Café and recreation area, Airlie House B& B, Balquhidder Village Hall, Monachyle Mhor, The Golden Larches, Mansewood Country House, The Lochearnhead Hotel, Lochside Cottages, Loch Earn, Briar Cottages, The Four Seasons Hotel and The Achray House Hotel.
A number of ornamental features including an “Airliephant”, a miniature mill house, a stag, a totem pole road sign, a cockerel mile marker and an old red phone box are also highlighted along the arts trail route along with food and drink stops, collectively mapped at www. robroycountry. com/ blisstrail.
Vi s i t Scotland Regiona l Par tnerships Director Liz Buchanan MBE said: “LETi is to be congratulated on this fantastic, inventive achievement - creating this new attraction to connect Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans is a great way of encouraging more visitors to stop off and spend time in and around the the four villages.
“The BLiSS arts trail capitalises on all three themes of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and I am sure it will be a great asset to tourism in the area and will not only attract visitors but will also bring benefits to local businesses.”
Kim Proven, LETi chair and owner of luxury self-catering Briar Cottages at Lochearnhead, said: “We wanted to create something new - an attraction that would capture the imagination of people of all ages and become a talking point. Our BLiSS trail’s diverse, inspirational artworks and installations should, we feel, do just that.
“Each of the pieces is interesting, t h o u g h t - p rov o k i n g and entertaining so we hope the trail will become a real favourite with visitors and make our villages even more attractive as destinations that people will seek out.
“We hope that visitors will recommend the BLiSS trail and our friendly communities to others. We want them to share their experience of it through social media by posting pictures on Facebook using the hashtag #BLiSStrail and on Twitter @robroycountry.”
Artist Kev Paxton, who has three pieces on the BLiSS trail (‘Bill The Bull’, ‘ Sunflowers’ and ‘ Fraser Briar’) said: “I was delighted that LETi invited me to become involved in this arts trail linking villages around the A84 and A85.
“There is a story behind all of my pieces and I aim to make people smile through my work so I hope that they encourage people to stop and spend time in this stunning area.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea and I really hope that the trail brings benefits to the tourism businesses and their communities.”
Colour stock Kev Paxton/ArtFe’s Bill the Bull at Lochearnhead Hotel
Room with a view Lookout by Angus Ritchie and Daniel Tyler is sited between Loch Voil and Doine
Ingenuity Dragon Bike by June McEwan is made from willow wicker and is at Mansewood Country House, Lochearnhead