Set in a small wooded crack in the hills near Biggar, Ian Hamilton Findlay's temple precinct is built, as many in Greece were, around a natural
spring, which cascades clear water down through a series of lakes and rivulets,
around which art objects are carefully placed. They
make you walk the half mile to the site as it prepares you for the sanctity of
the site. There’s no denying the beauty of the place, especially the top-end
lake but it troubled me a little. Then again, most things trouble me - a little.
Some of the works surprise, such as the golden head of
Apollo. It springs into view, cleverly set into the ground in a little grove.
The cluster of gold roof slates was my favourite 'spot' - a deft, relevant touch that works brilliantly in the grey Scottish light.
Then there's the grenades on the gate-posts and
But the Latin inscriptions that litter the site become
predictable. Setting words and phrases into stone and into the landscape is
fine but if it’s Little Sparta, why Latin and not Greek? I like the Hyperborean
Apollo feel to the place but the neo-classical words on stone are too easy and
Popped into Biggar’s only open Cafe for something to eat at
around 4pm, “sorry, Kitchen’s closed – coffee and drinks only”. Some things never