Scotland. It is the country of rolling green hills, of fog covered glens, deep firths. The country of fairies and gurgling waterfalls, of winding roads through nothingness, of glasses of smokey whiskey clinking in front of a pub fireplace at night.
Yet, there is more to Scotland than that. There are some surprises along the way. Attractions that are off-the-beaten-path, so unusual and unexpected you cannot help but pull up and take a closer look.
The Crawick Multiverse is one of those attractions that could be set in no better place than the Scottish Highlands. An open-air art installation, landscape art, that incorporates so much of the Scottish Celtic heritage that it feels deeply rooted within its very place. A Celtic inspired installation that picks up topics from the universe around us – think galaxies, meteors, and superclusters.
The Crawick Multiverse is set on the grounds of a derelict open cast coal mine. A genius idea of making use of a land that would otherwise have been left scarred by decades of human interference. As it is now, it is a wide and open complex that is perfect for a relaxing walk in nature, for a day out with the family, for reflecting about the universe and our role in it.
You should take your time when visiting the Multiverse. You don’t want to rush an experience like this. This is no Disneyland. This is serious business. You would want to put your virtual explorer hat on and walk the mile. Follow the north-south path that is flanked by large boulders to both sides. But don’t forget to stray away from the path. Don’t follow the rules, explore the outside as well. Resist the gravitational pull.
Pass through the perfect circle of the amphitheatre. Notice the details. The stone mural on the floor. The tiny spots in the stone, perfect little circles like lichens or fungi living on the surface. From the big circle to the small.
The last bit to reach the peak is a spiral walk. Follow the path, and as you are winding up your way to the top, enjoy the views of the Scottish countryside to all sides. On the top you will be greeted by a strange structure. Is it an eagle? Is it an open book? Intrigued, you go closer and sure enough you can read the pages as if it was a book. It is a map of the site, a multiverse encyclopaedia, inviting you to follow along the theories of the multiverse.
As you find your way down the spiral path you are losing yourself in the gravitational pull. A force takes you down the other way, into the Void, a deep hole right next to the Belvedere, with the mirror of a spiral pathway leading you down into its deep centre.
The wind that was pulling your sleeves subsides as you are walking down this path, deeper and deeper into the ground. Inside, surrounded by water and sitting on stone, you admire the stillness, the protective aura of this place.
But there is more to discover at Crawick Multiverse. Two mounds are representing galaxies – the Milky Way and Andromeda. Together they stand, like twins. Yet when you get closer, even walk up the spiral path, you will notice their differences. Walking up these spiral paths takes time. Time that you will embrace as your mind starts wandering.
The hard stone surfaces in stark contrast to the soft green of the hills. Colourful, seemingly eternal, yet organic.
The still and glittering surfaces of the water features, often reflecting the area around them or placed in striking contrast to the geometrical brilliance of the man-made features.
The overall composition, vast in size, versus the many, many details which you can only find when you are so close you could touch them – stone cavings that invite you to trace the words with your fingers as you walk through boulder mazes and through strategically placed installations.
All this and more can be explored at this fascinating site.
As it is with most artwork, the site is open for your personal interpretation. What it does very well is how it slows you down as you walk around the area. It takes time to explore the artwork from different angles, to touch the boulders, to climb the hills. It’s the perfect way to slow down and reflect about yourself, your role in nature, and the universe.
To visit: Land Art Project Crawick Multiverse is open all year around. It is also available as an art venue, and there are a number of events scheduled throughout the year. Tickets for families are £12.50pm. http://www.crawickmultiverse.co.uk