Mystery sculptures explained

Wigtown stones 3
Wigtown stones 3

THREE very unusual and intriguing sculptures near Wigtown have led to much speculation as to their purpose.

The three wooden posts
topped with stones attached 
by wire are to be found on the path to the Martyrs’ Stake, but with no infor­mation on site many people are wondering what they are all about.

Thankfully, Elizabeth Tin­dall, Dumfries and Galloway Council countryside ranger 
provided the answer. She explained that the “Geese Stanes”, as the sculptures are called, represent the three types of geese that migrate to Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve each 
year from Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard, and each stone comes from the area they represent. And, yes, it’s it meant to be intriguing!

Elizabeth said: “Three very different stones have migrated to Wigtown Bay. Each is the same weight as the geese they represent.

“Artist Will Marshall was commissioned to create a work of art telling a story about Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve. He chose goose migration as his theme and what started as a simple path improvement project has blossomed and become a chance not just to upgrade a path but to connect Wigtown to the Arctic.

“While improving the railway path at Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s countryside team 
decided the interpretation in the area should include a work of art which would interpret Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve (LNR).

“Using the popularity of the newly resurfaced path visitors and locals alike were asked what they thought about art and what was important to them about Wigtown Bay LNR and the Martyrs’ Stake area. What was planned as a short 10- to 15-minute survey often took much longer as people were so interested in talking about art and the LNR.

“Wigtown School got involved, learning lots about 
the six Dumfries and Gallo­way geese. Longyearbyen skole, the most northerly school in the world, got involved, sending us our ‘Barnacle Goose’ rock from 
Svalbard in Norway. Caer­laverock School in the inner Solway also got involved as barnacle geese are their geese too. Using GLOW (Scottish Schools Internet) the three schools ‘met’ to talk about their shared geese and what school life in Scotland and Norway is like. The Wigtown pupils were impressed by Norwegian pupils seeing polar bears and going to school on snow mobiles!

“The migration art works were unveiled on the railway path at Wigtown at the end of April, just as Wigtown Bay’s geese left to become Arctic geese once again.

“The art work will remind us of them for the summer until they return once more.”

Barnacle geese are represented by a stone from Svalbard, Greylag geese by a stone from Iceland and Pinkfoot geese by a stone from Greenland. Each of the stones weighs between 1500 and 3100 grammes

For more information please contact Elizabeth Tin­dall DGC’s ranger at elizabeth.tindal@dumgal.gov.uk or 07702212728.