In our latest exhibition Meanderings: A Walk Through The Smith’s Collection, we asked visitors to reflect on their walks and explorations during lockdown whilst they stroll through a selection of our art collection. The artwork on display depicts nature in various forms, seasons and locations. At the end of the exhibition we have asked visitors to share their memories of the lockdown, any new discoveries, and walks they have taken in a book intended for the museum’s collection.
Sadly, the current lockdown restrictions mean only a few visitors were able to see the exhibition in person (however you can still experience the virtual version on ArtUK, available here). One visitor who did make it was local poet, Anne B Murray. Anne was kind enough to share her meanders with us:
During the first lockdown commencing in March 2020, when we were restricted to one outing per day, and there was no public transport, like many people I went meandering very local to my home. I must have walked every pavement, lane, path and track within a five-mile radius of my front gate. And found so many places I’d never known existed.
My best discoveries were made in the woodlands around the Coxethill area, Gillies Hill Woods, and Cambusbarron. Cambusbarron village offered a small welcoming church garden to sit and rest in, and there’s a delightful walk by a stream which takes in the site of an old well and church where Robert the Bruce is reputed to have prayed before the Battle of Bannockburn. A more recent historical find was the burial site of a Murray family (no relation as far as I yet know) hidden in Gillies Hill Woods. It is marked by a magnificent Celtic Cross. Sadly, it also serves as a memorial to a very young man, A.J. Murray, killed and subsequently buried in France in 1914. I am currently researching the history of the site.
The Coxethill woodland is a small area at the top of St Ninians, where I made some more disturbing finds – old furniture and other unwanted items just dumped there. However, I decided to make amends for this human insult to Nature by reclaiming and upcycling a few finds. The rusty base of an old garden table – cleaned off and black-varnished – is now transformed into a rather classy jardinière. A slightly mangled, wheel-less wheelbarrow, after the same treatment, is now filled with flowering plants and has pride of place in my front garden.
I love the current exhibition Meanderings at the Smith. It is such a good idea to display some of the many paintings from the collection normally kept in storage. It is also such an appropriate theme – we should all try to remember something good from our lockdown experience. I’m sure many people have stories to tell of their local wanderings at that time. I would encourage others to share their stories.
Anne B. Murray, December 2020
Thank you very much for sharing your experience, Anne!
Do you have any lockdown memories?