Kelpies features in landmark Scottish book

Kelpies creator Andy Scott with Clydesdale horses Duke and Baron
Kelpies creator Andy Scott with Clydesdale horses Duke and Baron

There are some that no one could argue with; the stunning white sands of Luskentyre, the majestic landscape of Skye, the iconic Wallace Monument.

But when Scotland’s best known names – including film and television stars such as Brian Cox and Dougray Scott, satirist Rory Bremner and the hugely popular artist Jack Vettriano – were asked to choose the places that meant most to them, there were many less obviously beautiful landscapes that nevertheless have a place in their hearts.

My Scotland, By Its Famous Sons and Daughters, is a beautifully glossy coffee table book that is packed with stunning images of our country.

While top of the list of places that shaped Scotland’s famous sons and daughters goes to Glasgow, quickly followed by Edinburgh, many stars also look towards the breathtaking beauty offered by Scotland’s Highlands and islands.

Mull features prominently, as does Skye.

But memories are not always about stunning landscapes; Nardini’s ice cream parlour in Largs, Glasgow’s Botanics and Aberdeen’s harbour all have a place in the publication that is raising money for charity with its sales.

The profits are going to CHAS, the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland, which no doubt helped persuade many of the 58 celebrities involved to take part.

The book’s editor Anne Graham said: “Everyone I spoke to was great and very generous with their time.

“Lots of them promised me 20 minutes and then spent much longer chatting about the places that meant a lot to them.

“I think for many of them there is a time in your life when you get nostalgic and they enjoyed looking back.

“There is a great sense of place in Scottish people, I have found – wherever they are, they always think of Scotland as home.

“‘Wherever I do and wherever I am, Scottish is what I am’ – that’s a strong thread running through the interviews.

Many of the interviewees focus on the places that shaped them.

Andy Scott, the artist behind such iconic sculptures as the Kelpies in Falkirk, Cumbernauld’s Arria and Motherwell’s The Steelman looks back on the inspiration he found in the industrial landscape of the Clyde.

He is now immensely proud of the Kelpies, although he said: “Hundreds of people were involved, I’m just the centre forward who scored the goal and got the plaudits.”

Meanwhile, comedienne Karen Dunbar remembered another industrial heartland for a different reason.

Her childhoold holidays were spent in Grangemouth, and she recalled being “a bit feart” when she visited – mainly because of her nana, who she describes as “an amazing woman, really gregarious and charismatic, a real Scotch matriarch.”

Bellshill-born footballing legend Billy McNeil, chooses the view over the Cumbraes from Haylie Brae, which takes him back to the first time he saw it as a young Celtic player.

“Often I stop the car when I reach the Brae and spend a few moments taking in one of the most wonderful sights I have encountered on my travels,” he said.

Author Anne herself moved to Scotland fairly recently.

For many years she worked on a magazine based in the north-east of England and it was her conversations with local celebrities over the years that inspired her to create the book My North-East, which was a huge success, raising money for the Bobby Robson Foundation.

Visit Scotland became involved in providing many of the stunning images in the book.

The contributions make a glorious advert for the diversity of Scotland.

Through speaking to the celebrities who are so passionate about Scotland, Anne herself was introduced to many of the country’s breathtaking treasures.

She said: “One of my favourite interviews was with Dougray Scott whose dad was a salesman who took him all over the country.

“His eyes were really opened to the beauty of the country and I think that’s happened to me too.

“I would hope it will inspire people to think ‘I must go out and about and see my own country a bit more!”

My Scotland by its Famous Sons and Daughters is published by Kingfisher Reach Publishing and is available in bookstores and online at www.my-scotland.org.