Every time I go to Dunbar, I have a bit of a routine. I head along the High Street to the Glebe then walk around the Prom and back towards the East Beach before going for the train home. I usually walk around by the Pool, along Castle Street and down the Vennel to the Beach. The last time I was there, about a month ago, I was crossing Victoria Street by the Methodist Church when I looked down the street and saw a sculpture I had never seen in my life. The sun was shining and it cast an excellent light over this sculpture of three figures carrying a creel. There wasn’t a plaque or anything to tell me anything about it but I figured out at least that it was a creel and was to do with fishing. The cat slinking around the legs of the centre figure is a nice touch, I have to say.
As it turns out, according to the Courier, it is called ‘The Creel Loaders’ and was unveiled about 6 weeks ago, produced by Gardner Molloy. This being in East Lothian, the Courier report wonderfully adds that Mr Molloy is ‘of Cockenzie’, establishing that he’s not an incomer or anything, an important distinction for many in my home county, of course. ‘The Creel Loaders’ is stunning, to be fair, a great reminder of the fishing history in Dunbar and along the coastline both north and south. When I was in St. Abbs, even more recently, there was another example of sculpture, relating to the Eyemouth fishing disaster of 1881, an event that is rightfully still remembered in Berwickshire and marked by a set of sculptures along the Berwickshire Coastal Path.
I am not always convinced by sculptures that are placed outside. I know someone who placed a stone outside on the beach then brought it in a few months later, covered in seaweed and weathered by successions of waves. That’s fine but people like Antony Gormley who put their own body in places he hasn’t got a connection with, that annoys me. When it has a direct relevance, and tells a story, that’s great and wonderful and thought-provoking. The next time I’m in Dunbar, I’ll be taking a closer look at ‘The Creel Loaders’ and thinking on the fishing history of the place over many centuries and of course still to come, even if in decreasing numbers.