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!
There's much more being done, and a huge amount of detail to be added around the poem and on the opposite wall along the length of the tunnel. We hope to finish painting towards the end of September, but our Scottish climate can have a big effect on our plans. Keep an eye out for the fun bits as they develop, like the "selfie station" at the Colinton end of the tunnel, which is overtaking our giant rainbow as the ideal spot for photography.
TV and radio coverage
Laura Alderman from STV 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. it's a lovely piece and was broadcast on the STV News on 6th March 2020.
Armed Forces TV and BFBS Radio's Jim Gellatly also recorded our work with Army families, who feature in Laura's report.
We were delighted to have Hope Webb, from BBC Scotland, with us on Monday 11th November. 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 - we're getting there but please help us to finish!
Fundraising is still a major priority for us, to ensure that we can finish the job now that lockdown is easing. We're aiming for completion by September, but there's lots to do before then. Thanks to some recent generous donations including The Turtleton Trust and National Lottery Awards for All, we're now almost 90% of the way to our target of £100,000, but have lots of work to do still. 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 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, 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 is being carried out by a multi-skilled team of muralists led by Edinburgh-based Chris Rutterford. They are being 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.
We paint each section as funds permit, so please give generously to help us finish Scotlands most stunning heritage mural. 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 is that, by using marine plywood boards, we take the mural to the community - rather than everyone having to come to the tunnel. That approach has also enabled us to address problems with the few remaining wet areas inside the tunnel, another big benefit. Tiphereth's mighty "Peregrine" group have reached the end of their brilliant 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 preparation 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!