YES, yes, yes, the Kelpies. They are well worth a visit and a good day out. But not every public sculpture is on the same scale as Andy Scott’s most famous work, or even needs to be. Here are five modern public artworks that are worth going out of your way for.

6 TIMES, Antony Gormley, Water of Leith, Edinburgh

Reinstalled early last year, the six life-sized human figures designed by Turner Prize-winner Antony Gormley were originally commissioned by the National Galleries of Scotland in 2010. Back on show, they are spaced out across the city. The first can be seen at the entrance of the Scottish National Gallery of Art (Modern One), embedded in the ground. Then after a short (but steep-stepped) walk down from the car park behind Modern One, the second figure can be standing in the Water of Leith. If you’re lucky you might spot a heron hanging around too.

Follow the water down through Dean Village to Stockbridge and the third figure (best viewed from the eponymous bridge). Sculptures IV and V can be found further along the river at Powderhall (near the Royal Botanic Garden) and Bonnington respectively. The final figure is in Leith itself.


The Swimmers, Charles Anderson, Glasgow Road, Stirling


Anyone who grew up in Stirling in the 1970s and 1980s will remember the impressive mural that decorated the exterior of the swimming pool in Goosecroft Road. Designed by artist Charles Anderson, the mural was an impressionistic vision, as the title suggests, of figures in water, made in cast concrete. When the swimming pool was scheduled for demolition in 2014 there were fears for the mural. But the original builders, Ogilvie Construction saved it and it can now be seen, slightly incongruously, outside their office buildings on the Glasgow Road on the outskirts of the town. But even situated by a mini roundabout, Anderson’s mural retains its power.

Anderson, who graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1959, spent more than three decades as an architectural sculptor and mural designer. He created work all over the UK, including a 150ft-long mural in Burnley which also had to be relocated when the original building – a sports centre – was demolished.

Anderson worked on the Savoy Centre in Glasgow and Greenock Central Library among many other public commissions, but his name is rather overlooked now, more’s the pity. Take a trip to Stirling to find out why that shouldn’t be the case.

The Millennium Cairn, Penpont, Dumfriesshire

The English land artist Andy Goldsworthy has long been based in the Scottish borders and the Millennium Cairn is close to his studio. Built to mark the new millennium, it’s a modest work by Goldsworthy’s standards, a stone egg (or is it a pine cone?) made of local red sandstone that sits on its own on farmland on the approach to the village of Penpont on the A702.

It’s not the only mark Goldsworthy has made on this local landscape. The Striding Arches, three immense sandstone arches are located on hilltops near Moniaive nearby. Each arch is nearly four metres high and is built of 31 blocks weighing in the region of 27 tons. To see them all you’ll need to be ready to do some serious walking though. The cairn, by contrast, is easily accessible. But mind the grazing animals.

Landscape with Tree and Gun, Cornelia Parker, Jupiter Artland, Wilkieston


A visit to Jupiter Artland is a no-brainer for anyone interested in sculpture. It’s like a playpark for modern art fans with work from Laura Ford, Tania Kovats, Anya Gallaccio, Nathan Coley, Anish Kapoor, and Jim Lambie among many others. (Antony Gormley and Andy Goldsworthy are also represented).

But if we’re playing favourites we might go for Cornelia Parker’s Landscape with Gun and Tree, which sees an outsized gun (nine metres in height) gently resting against a tree that’s only slightly taller. Parker was inspired by the famous Gainsborough painting of Mr and Mrs Andrews, in which Mr Andrews is casually holding a gun under his arm.

Jupiter Artland closes on October 25 for winter, so best get your skates on.


Evolve, Rob Mulholland, Cunningar Loop, Rutherglen


Sadly, Glasgow-born sculptor and environmental artist Rob Mulholland’s much-loved “mirror man” statue (the official title is Still) has yet to be restored to the waters of Loch Earn. But Mulholland’s work can be found in other parts of the country . In Rutherglen his six-metre high sculpture Evolve impressively marks the entrance to Cuningar Woodland Park.

Constructed out of more than 600 individual pieces of high-grade stainless steel welded together, it’s an impressive marker for the redevelopment of what was once a landfill site into a handsome woodland park on the banks of the River Clyde.