Stonehaven’s Bay Walk Sculptures
Stonehaven’s Bay Walk sculptures are an interesting addition to the very pleasant seaside walk that can be enjoyed from one end of the bay to the other, at any time of the year. The majority are the work of a local man who prefers to keep a low profile. None of the sculptures that he has produced have any signature or logo which would identify them as his work, although the more recent group of boats and the lighthouse all have a very similar style to the ‘crew’ that work in them.
UPDATE: The identity of the “Stoney Banksy” was revealed on BBC Scotland Evening News on Wed 8 May 2019 as local man, Jim Malcolm. “People have been trying to find who I am for a while now… Personally I get a bit embarrassed about it. What does it matter who did or didn’t do it. This will be my first and last interview”. Mr Maclolm has been inspired by the sea from a young age, going out on boats from the age of eight and working much of his adult life at sea before latterly becoming a welder. He explained that he though retired three years ago, the sea still means a lot to him, he said: “The sea to me means freedom.”
About the sculptures he says, “It just evolves when I’m doing it. I never know what I’m doing til I’m finished.” However despite the acclaim for his work, the pensioner remains modest: “I’m nae an artist, nah, I’m just a guy that sticks metal together… I make sculptures for the simple fact I enjoy doing it.”
All of the sculptures are made of stainless steel which will weather in the salty air but not rust.
The first of the sculptures appeared on the 6thof May 2006 and was an open metal framework showing a salmon on rocks standing 60cm high, revealed to be a practical joke against a friend who had been caught poaching salmon where he should’t have been!
The next was a Cormorant with a salmon in its beak. This one went up in May 2007 and again was an open framework sculpture.
2008 had two sculptures erected, both open framework constructions. One was a Sea Eagle with a salmon in its claws (it has since flown away to a new home). The other was the seal with a fish’s skeleton in its belly. This one is now in the picnic area beside the beach pavilion.
All of the sculptures up to this point had been created in response to events in the sculptor’s life. A stainless steel plant appeared on the rocks in May 2010. It was produced in response to the UK general election that was being held that year. It showed the national flowers of the four countries in the United Kingdom.
May 2011 was when the first boat sculpture appeared. It was the trawler with nets and a fish ‘crew’ on board. The detail in the superstructure and on-board equipment makes the sculpture very interesting to look over. During a bad storm this creation was torn off its mounting and washed up beside the wooden foot-bridge. It was repaired and remounted with a ‘lookout’ for any more bad weather in the shape of a hammerhead shark with binoculars!
After a break of 2 years it was 2014 when a Dolphin was produced for the Outdoor Swimming Pool.
The small Seine Netter boat was next to be installed on the 18thof June 2015. Again there is an amazing amount of detail on the vessel with lots of visual humour involved, Hammerhead is reading his paper in the hold! The boat is called the James & Seth after the sculptors’ grandsons.
The second last day of 2016 saw the light shine from the lighthouse as it was installed complete with ‘crew’ in their quarters reading the papers and watching TV.
A year later the Viking boat was launched – 28thDecember 2017. Hammerhead with his battle-axe appears again in the bows along with Skate or Ray. The ‘crew’ in this case are fish and seahorses.
The Rose was launched on the 19thof December 2018. The ‘crew’ in this boat are Seth the crab and James the lobster. The catch in the boxes is human skeletons. The Rose was named in tribute to a friend who had recently passed away.
Despite the recent attention from the media the Sculptor wants to keep his profile low and just enjoy doing what he likes most – creating the wonderful sculptures.
(All images © Martin Sim except top image © Dawn S. Black)