New hand-sculpted outdoor benches installed in Inverness

Scotland’s only national waterways charity, Scottish Waterways Trust, has installed three new handmade benches as part of its Nature Walks for Wellbeing programme so local people can enjoy places to rest and reflect in the outdoors in Inverness.

Participants on the charity’s Nature Walks for Wellbeing programme designed the three artworks, now installed by The Caledonian Canal, Merkinch Nature Reserve and Dunain Community Woodland, in collaboration with artist and sculptor Owen Pilgrim.

Nature Walks for Wellbeing provide a series of weekly outings designed to help those with mental health problems using mindful activity along the Caledonian Canal and surrounding greenspace. The installation of the benches mark a successful year of activities from the project, which was made possible with funding from The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and The Santander Foundation during 2016.

The impressive 1.5m sculpture benches are crafted from western red cedar and each tells the story of the place where it is positioned. A duck with paddle in hand overlooks the Caledonian Canal, a wolf holding a drum sits in Dunain Community Woodland and at Merkinch Nature Reserve a deer looks through the park with a bell in hand.

Nature Walks for Wellbeing now form part of Scottish Waterways Trust’s wider ‘Canal Life’ project, which aims to engage with over 3,000 people along the historic canal from Inverness to Corpach over two years.

People can get involved with ‘Canal Life’ by contacting Scottish Waterways Trust’s Canal Heritage Officer on 07917 676786 or stephen@scottishwaterwaystrust.org.uk

Unveiling the sculptures, Stephen Wiseman, Scottish Waterways Trust’s Highland Canal Heritage Officer, said:

We installed these three benches at the main places where we benefit from the value of connection in the outdoors during our Nature Walks for Wellbeing project. Each bench is designed to watch over visitors to the historic Caledonian Canal and neighbouring greenspace and keep them comfortable on their journey.