Bo’ness art is a benchmark of local endeavour

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When vandals tried to wreck the amenity of a key Bo’ness stretch of the John Muir Way an imaginative “public art” solution was brought to bear.

Unlike some arty features that are simply meant to be looked at and admired the Natural Connections project, which involved schools, local firms and community groups, has also brought benches to the route between Carriden Beach and Grangepans.

But they are no ordinary seats, as they also tell the story of a ship, the SS Belgenland, on which Albert Einstein famously journeyed from the USA to Germany before being forced to flee the country when the Nazis came to power in the 1930’s.

That ship ended up in the breaking yard at Bridgeness, but thanks to the new benches its unusual local connection will never be entirely forgotten,

Falkirk Council worked in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage and Room 8 Studios to improve the 2.2km section of the John Muir Way which runs through Bo’ness following consultation with local people.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, spokesperson for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to work with partners to deliver these new benches, which are great additions to the John Muir Way.”

He added: “Unfortunately, we have encountered some vandalism on the trail recently, and we hope people can look out for the benches and help us keep them in good order.”

Plaques have been designed by the local groups involved in choosing the best locations for the benches – Bo’ness Academy, Upper Forth Boat Club, Carriden Church over 50s group and Caledonian Produce staff.