A restful new addition for locals and visitors to savour the sea air has been completed at Arbroath seafront.
In a pandemic project carried out by the Fit O’ The Toon Residents’ Association, the stone seating circle has been built at Old Shore Head and was unveiled on Saturday.
It has been created using the town’s distinctive red sandstone, with a coronavirus time capsule sunk as a reminder of its origins.
A nod to Arbroath’s industrial history has also been included with the recreation of carved stone heads which once graced a town centre wall.
FOTRA chairwoman Morag Smith said the seating idea was inspired by a television news item early in lockdown around the Friendly Bench initiative designed to tackle loneliness and isolation.
After living in Australia, Morag returned to her home town early in 2020.
“I grew up on this street and always wanted to get involved in something like this residents’ group,” she said.
“We’ve a really strong community down here, but the pandemic made things a little bit of a challenge, although it didn’t stop us and we did carry out some projects including wildflower planting during the first lockdown.”
“I saw the item about the friendly benches, which are designed to encourage people to face each other, and the plans really came from that,” she said.
“We did a bit of a survey and people seemed happy about it, and it was easy to get the permission to build it on the open bit of ground.”
The project received funding through the town’s Round O 50 community organisation, with local businessman Barry Smale’s Rhubarb and Rubble business building the structure using the reclaimed red sandstone and stonemason Carey Gibb also involved in the project.
Well-known local artist Neil Paterson was a key figure in the design of the seating, which has been spaced to allow social distancing, is wheelchair accessible and includes sensory planting.
“Neil also thought it would be nice to have some carvings around the circle and has recreated heads which were once in a wall along Burnside Drive,” said Morag.
“He is also going to produce two standing stones as the finishing touch.”
The time capsule contains lockdowns diaries completed by Fit O The Toon residents, photographs biographies and a netting float marking the maritime heritage of the area – as well as a bottle of Corona beer as a light-hearted reminder of the timing of the project.
“We are really pleased with the way it has turned out and so grateful to all who have been involved in the project,” said Morag.
“Hopefully people will get great enjoyment out of being able to go there and sit with friends.”