New glens cairn will commemorate Scott’s expedition

An artist's impression of the replacement monument.
An artist's impression of the replacement monument.

A community effort to keep alive the local connection with the Terra Nova Expedition to Antarctica and the South Pole has been put together to commemorate the centenary of the exploits of Edward Wilson and Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

Wilson, chief scientist, surgeon and artist on the expedition, died with Captain Scott and his colleagues on the return from the Pole in late March 1912. Prior to the expedition Wilson was employed by the government to conduct a study into grouse and his publisher, Reginald Smith offered the use of Burnside Lodge in Glen Prosen. Wilson spent many months, if not years, based in the lodge and was joined on an unconfirmed number of occasions by Captain Scott.

After the deaths of the Polar party and the later death of Reginald Smith, his widow funded the erection of a memorial fountain in 1919 in Glen Prosen at “Scott’s View.” It was destroyed in a car accident in 1979, although it was replaced by a memorial cairn in 1981. The cairn is very weathered and both inscriptions are difficult to read.

In order to commemorate the centenary, Kirriemuir Landward East Community Council, in whose area the cairn stands, has gained support and assistance from a number of local groups including Kirriemuir Heritage Trust, Dundee Heritage Trust, Angus Council, local residents (including the current owner of Burnside Lodge) and the Earl of Airlie. Planning permission has been received for a new monument, designed and built by a renowned local stonemason and engraver, Bruce Walker. The granite stone will be 10ft in height, weighing in at around 40 tonnes. The group understands this will be the only sculpture anywhere in the world that includes both Scott and Wilson; and will use techniques unseen in the UK since the 1920s.

Other proposals include open days at Burnside Lodge from March 28-31; a project between Cortachy and Tannadice Primary Schools and Dundee Heritage Trust; a showing of Herbert Ponting’s archive film, taken from the expedition itself; exhibits from Discovery Point; a series of talks focusing on the expedition in Glen Prosen Hall; a production of “Mythmakers,” by the Celtic Circle theatre group; a play about the relationship between Captain Scott and JM Barrie in Balnaboth House, Glen Prosen and a ceilidh to celebrate the unveiling of the new monumental sculpture. Funding is now in place to allow this project to proceed, although any additional contributions would be welcomed by contacting the action group chairperson Ivan Laird at ivan@iaerlaird.fsnet.co.uk or by searching for “Scott 100 in Angus” on Facebook.