The poem is finished! Could it be the world's "longest" RLS poem?
Having started at the end (yes, we're deliberately backward!), we have now reached the beginning of RLS's poem "From a Railway Carriage". Only sixteen lines long, it now fills 140 metres of tunnel wall and has been beautifully written and illustrated by our art team of Chris Rutterford, Craig Robertson and Duncan Peace. The poem acts as the "spine" of the mural - each line links to more images on the ceiling and opposite wall, reflecting elements of our local history and heritage. The team has done a brilliant job!
We finished most of the mural in mid-October, though we have some fine tuning, touching up and a few optional extras still to add. Our new magical train, complete with dragon, unicorn, fairies and witches is proving to be a huge draw, as are the 8 foot piper, the highland cow and the Clydesdale horse. Maybe they will prove even more popular than the "selfie station" of the golden wings (aka the Golden Snitch) at the and our giant rainbow - only time will tell.
TV and radio coverage
Laura Alderman from STV came back to celebrate the imminent completion of painting. Her lovely report was broadcast on STV's Six o'clock News on 21st October and you'll find it on our home page. We've also just heard that a longer version of Laura's report is to be broadcast throughout the UK on ITV's "All Around Britain" programme - a real credit to Laura, to our art team and to the project as a whole. Laura had also spent time with us in February, seeing Army families painting their contribution at Dreghorn Barracks and filming in the tunnel. She also took a bike ride through and reminisced about how scary it was when she used to ride through as a child with her friends.That first report was broadcast on the STV News on 6th March 2020. If you're on the home page, you'll find several other enjoyable videos, including a new one by the talented Dode Allen - enjoy it!
Armed Forces TV and BFBS Radio's Jim Gellatly also recorded our work with Army families during February.
We were delighted to have Hope Webb, from BBC Scotland, with us on Monday 11th November 2019. Her piece was broadcast on "The Nine" that evening and attracted lots of positive comments as well as over 100,000 views. It's available on BBC iPlayer for a while, but there are other versions available, including this short edit: BBC Scotland, "The Nine", 11.11.19.
Money and more - please help us to maintain the mural and to run engagement events!
Fundraising is still a major priority for us but, as we approach completion, we're really thinking about how we can maintain Scotland's most signficant heritage mural into the future and run events for schools, other groups and the wider public. Thanks to some recent generous donations including The Turtleton Trust and National Lottery Awards for All, we're now just over 90% of the way to our target of £100,000 and have nearly enough to finish the mural, but not enough to fund our plans for the future.
Big thanks go to local residents, who continue to make generous individual donations (many using the Government's Gift Aid scheme to boost their donation by 25%). Overall, local people and other visitors are our major source of funding. We are hugely grateful to Sustrans, who recently awarded us a further grant of £5,000 to take us towards completion. Thanks also to the the Currie and Balerno News, the Armed Forces Covenant Trust, Turtleton Trust, National Lottery Awards for All, Virgin Money Foundation, Currie, Balerno & District Round Table (CBDRT), City of Edinburgh Council (Community Grants Fund), The Mushroom Trust, the Educational Institute of Scotland Arts Fund, Cruden's, the Co-op, and all other funders. Keep it coming! Please also contact us if you become aware of any grants, trust funds or corporate donors that might support us.
The whole project has been carried out by a multi-skilled team of muralists led by Edinburgh-based Chris Rutterford, the RLS poem having been painted by our resident street artists, Craig Robertson and Duncan Peace. They were helped by young people and other volunteers from throughout our community - see "Community" further down this page. The design concept, based on a short poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, is hugely exciting and stimulating. It is a visual description of the delight of a child's rail journey, which also links to various elements of Colinton's history.
The detailed designs were shown to our community in two exhibitions and details were given in publications that reached more than local 6,000 residents before we began. LED lighting, completed in June 2019, transformed the tunnel, made it feel much safer for users and shows the mural to best effect. Since starting work, we've kept our community up to date through regukar articles in local publications, as well as in national press, and via this site and our growing social media presence.
As we head for completion we are now thinking about maintaining this stunning artwork into the future, so please keep donating. You can give electronically, either direct to our bank (see our Giving page) or just click the red button above to go to our Virgin Money Giving page. Thank you!
Community engagement is hugely important to us. Nearly 600 young people from five local schools and various youth groups have already been involved with the project, as well as members of the Pentlands Art Club. Magic! The brilliant idea was that, by using marine plywood boards, we were able to take the mural to the community - rather than everyone having to come to the tunnel. That approach also enabled us to address problems with the few wet areas inside the tunnel, another big benefit. Tiphereth's mighty "Peregrines" group did wonderful surface preparation work - thank you! Thanks also to SAMH Redhall Walled Garden, the Water of Leith Conservation Trust volunteers, Sustrans volunteers and the mighty men of Boroughmuir Rugby Club for helping with surface prep and associated work. You may also have spotted the stunning new dry-stone bench, commissioned by the Colinton Amenity Association and built by SE Scotland Drystone Walling Association. That forms part of a wider package of measures, including wildflower planting, that are part of the local organisations' collective plan to bring visitors to enjoy Colinton. It's already working!