Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Dunbar John Muir bear sculpture to go ahead

Andy Scott working on the bear sculpture Image copyright Andy Scott

Images of a five-metre (16ft) high steel bear that is to be erected in Dunbar, East Lothian, have been released.

Planning permission for the bear, sculpted by Scottish artist Andy Scott, has been granted and sculpting is now in progress.

The bear will pay tribute to one of East Lothian's most famous sons - John Muir, who was born in Dunbar in 1838.

The bear is symbolic of his travels through America's wild places.

Muir emigrated from Scotland in 1849, and played a key role in the development of America's national parks, petitioning the Congress for the National Park bill, which established Yosemite National Park.

Image copyright Andy Scott
Image caption Andy Scott is famous for The Kelpies, among other works

Planning permission was granted following approval by Transport Scotland and the Scottish government.

It is expected to be unveiled in spring.

Andy Scott, the artist behind The Kelpies, said: "It is fantastic that we have now been given the green light to create this sculpture in memory of such an influential character, especially given today's environmental climate.

"His role in creating national parks is well known in the United States, but sadly not so well known here and this bear sculpture will provide an opportunity to enlighten people about the man and his work.

"It is a symbol of the wilderness John Muir was such a passionate advocate of and is testament to his incredible desire to protect the natural environment."

Image copyright US Library of Congress
Image caption Muir left Scotland in 1849 when he was only 11 years old

The site was chosen as it is a primary gateway into the town and is visible from the railway.

The sculpture will be made of welded steel and will be fabricated from steel plates of various thicknesses.

Visitors will be able to access it via a walkway.

Image copyright EMA Architects and Masterplanners
Image caption The sculpture is due to be unveiled in spring

Andy Scott, is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art and has completed over 70 projects across the UK and internationally.

Norman Hampshire, East Lothian council's environment spokesman, said: "We are thrilled to mark Dunbar's new gateway with a sculpture by one of Scotland's most famous sculptors.

"The bear is truly symbolic of Dunbar's rich history, symbolizing its most famous son, John Muir, and will fast become a well-loved local landmark like his other iconic sculptures."

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