Centenary statue is ready for unveiling

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A STATUE in honour of the Terra Nova Expedition is due to be unveiled to the public next weekend.

To celebrate the centenary of the Terra Nova Expedition, Kirriemuir Landward East Community Council formed a group to organise many commemorative events throughout the year.

Terra Nova Group members, Dundee Heritage Trust and pupils from Cortachy and Tannadice Primary Schools have clubbed joined forces to replace the current cairn at ‘Scott’s View’ in Glen Prosen.

They commissioned renowned local sculptor, Bruce Walker to undertake the work. The sculpture stands 10 feet tall and weighs around 15 tonnes, with Bruce’s work making the sculpture as impressive in its detail as it is in its sheer size.

The design includes life-size figures of Captain Scott and Dr Wilson, penguins, huskies, Siberian ponies, a globe depicting their route from New Zealand to the Pole and impressions of two famous drawings made by Wilson during the expedition. Also included in the sculpture are two pieces of text, one written by Wilson describing the beauty of Antarctica and the other taken from Scott’s last letter, written as he lay dying in his tent on the way back from the Pole.

The cairn is located at Glen Prosen due to it’s significance in the run up to the Terra Nova Expidition.

Prior to the expedition, Dr Edward Adrian Wilson, chief scientist, was employed by the government to conduct a study into grouse; and in order to help him his publisher, Reginald Smith, offered the use of Burnside Lodge in Glen Prosen, Angus.

Wilson spent many months, if not years, based in the lodge conducting his studies and was joined on an unconfirmed number of occasions by Captain Robert Falcon Scott and, according to some sources, J. M. Barrie, Kirriemarian, playwright and author of ‘Peter Pan’.

Part of Scott and Wilson’s time at the Lodge was spent going over the finer details of the expedition and also in testing some of the equipment for the expedition itself.

After the deaths of the Polar party and the later death of Reginald Smith, Smith’s widow funded the erection of a Memorial Fountain in 1919, in Glen Prosen at a point known locally as ‘Scott’s View’, due to Captain Scott’s admiration of the scenery at that place.

The inscription in the centre of the fountain read, “Given into the care of the people of Cortachy for them to hold in remembrance. Robert Falcon Scott and Edward Adrian Wilson who knew this glen: they reached the South Pole on 17th January, 1912, and died together on the Great Ice Barrier March, 1912. For the journey is done and the summit attained and the barriers fall.”

Sadly, the fountain was destroyed in a car accident in 1979, although it was replaced by a memorial cairn, erected in 1981. The cairn is now very weathered and unfortunately, the inscriptions are difficult to read. And so it was decided that a new statue should be erected in the centenary year.

The sculpture is now finished and plans are being made for an official unveiling. This will take place on Saturday, December 8, at 12 noon at Scott’s View on the road into Glen Prosen from Dykehead.

For those wishing to attend, a shuttle-bus is being offered, running from Dykehead into the Glen, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors are asked to park in the village car park and await the shuttle, which should only take a few minutes to make each trip.

This project could not have gone ahead without significant contributions, both financial and in-kind from a number of volunteers, as well as private donors including Breedon Aggregates of Aberdeenshire, the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust and the Angus Environmental Trust (through the Landfill Communities Fund).