Sculptures follow nature’s way

One of the impressive timber sculptures, developed by the late, self-taught Aviemore-based sculptor Frank Bruce for the The Frank Bruce Sculpture Trail. Photograph: Colin Kinnear

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A unique Cairngorms sculpture trail is slowly losing its works of art – just as the artist intended.

The Frank Bruce Sculpture Trail hosts an impressive collection of work in timber and stone in the ‘archetypal abstraction’ style developed by the self-taught, Aviemore-based sculptor Frank Bruce (1931 – 2009).

Sited on land managed by Forestry and Land Scotland, the striking carvings explore Scottish culture and our relationship with others. That some of the sculptures will weaken and fail, while others stand the test of time was a key element of Frank’s concept.

Maree Morrison, recreation ranger with the FLS team in Glenmore, said: ‘The sculptures, many of them created from Scots pine from here in Inshriach forest, fill the woodland with spirits and stories. It’s quite poignant that some of the smaller pieces have already rotted away. It really gives you pause for thought when you’re walking round the trail.

‘Since Frank died, there has been an effort to preserve the sculptures but long-term exposure to the elements has resulted in a couple of the really large timber suffering internal rot that has made them potentially dangerous.

‘We’ve lowered those sculptures to the ground now but we have made sure that they are facing ‘up’ so that visitors can still enjoy them.

‘Hopefully, our actions – which are entirely about public safety – will feed in to visitors’ interpretation and understanding of Frank’s vision.’
The three stone sculptures ensures some permanent presence onsite and will remain as a memorial to this talented and thought-provoking artist.

The River Feshie trail and the Feshie Woodland trail start from the main car park, giving good views of the river. The trails are also wheelchair friendly and there is a small dedicated car park for disabled visitors.