This part of Aberdeenshire, from Kennethmont to Bennachie, is steeped in history and folklore and tales of the supernatural. Dunnideer, this small hill to the west of Insch, with the archway of a ruined castle topping it off, is visible for miles around. Successive peoples lived in the relative security of this hill and their bones and artefacts occasionally surface. It is near Harlaw, the site of one of Scotland’s bloodiest battles and the strange nocturnal cries attributed to fox and owl are said by some to be the cries of the wounded who got as far as Dunnideer before being butchered. The sheep that graze on Dunnider get golden teeth (from some chemical in the soil but a change which was attributed to some supernatural source in the good old days). A haunting/haunted sort of atmosphere.
On a little hill to the south of Newcastle Anthony Gormley’s rusty Angel of the North spreads protective/welcoming wings over the countryside below. It’s so big – a bit like the Christ on his hill overlooking Rio de Janeiro but with a touch of Icarus. Some wing span!
There’s something simple about the design with its Tiger Moth wings but the overpowering size makes you gape when you first see it. It’s quite an engineering feat – the sunken base utilizes old mine shafts in the hillock to achieve the necessary depth to support and fix the Angel which is hardly a streamlined construction. I love it. Everybody loves it.
I liked the pose and the vividness of this girl with the red stockings and the gold shoes – still do.