Situated on the hobgoblin green hilltops of Cairnhead near the Dumfriesshire village of Moniave stands landscape artists Andy Goldsworthy’s stunning sandstone Striding Arches.
Built from locally quarried stone, each arc consists of 31 sculpted blocks, weighing 27 tonnes. The four beacons sit resplendently on the peak of Galloway hilltops, at the edge of a Nordic spruce plantations, reaching over the rushing Dalwhat water and creeping gloriously from an isolated and serene Halloweenesque barn.
It’s a monument to human history. Andy’s other arches stand in Canada, New Zealand and the United States as a legacy to emigrating and travelling Scots who have made their imprint at home and in the wider community of the world.
I went on a treasure hunt to discover the arches a few weeks ago when I took some time off to rest my head and recharge for my next learning adventure. I’ve recently felt like popcorn kernels during its first two minutes in the microwave – slowing building from simmer to a bag of excitement ready to pop, pop, pop with ideas and enthusiasm. In reality, though, my two minutes have been more like three months. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of being a busy fool. So I treated this trip like a pilgrimage, to reach un-get-atable places. Rather than seeking to get two all four, just allowing the journey to evoke a sensory ignition of aha eureka moments. I was looking for my interpretation, my meaning, my striding archway.
Earlier that morning, I had received a LinkedIn invite from the Deputy Editor of HR Magazine. What would a wonderfully, gifted person to be invited to connect with, I thought. Some thirty minutes later, I receive an email inviting me to St Paul’s Cathedral to HR Magazines Most Influential Awards evening and that I would find out my ranking position on the evening. I was both flattered and surprised, with a hefty slice of imposter/rebel rule-breaking reluctance. Why would Mr Boyd’s most ‘characterful’ pupil be given an HR award, really moi?
I didn’t reply to the messages straight away. I decided instead to get lost in the joyful journey of arches and found what they were saying to me.
They spoke clearly and with intent. This art is not about celebrity, although some may be. It’s not about anyone person immortalised in sculpted stone. They are a community, a collective, made not solely as a memoir of one but as a celebration of the many. These people are influenced by not the power they may hold but how they have used it for good.
“We are a community, a collective, made not solely as a memoir of one but as a celebration of the many.”
We are all Striding Arches, every single one of us. Like Andy Goldsworth vision of the piece. We are the intangible moments that exist between each person, the atmosphere, the feeling, the spirit that makes each of us come alive. We may sometimes be miles apart, but we’re all so close to home as humans.
If you’re reading this and we’ve danced together in the last few years of our working lives, I thank you from my heart. You’ve enabled me to share my colourful cocktail of creativity and compassion with you and yours. I am deeply honoured to be recognised by peer-nominated/voted wonderful humans for my influence on others. It truly makes a difference when people you respect recognise your energy and craft.
Thank you, HR Magazine and you.
Scott Leiper, number 26, most influential etched in Tahoma font beautiful poster somewhere within the crypt of St. Pauls Cathedral.