A statue celebrating one of Perthshire’s most renowned musicians has received the backing of Perth and Kinross Council following a 17-year campaign by fans.
Niel Gow, an 18th Century fiddler from Inver, near Dunkeld, will be immortalised by a new bronze statue in Birnam where his music is remembered every year at a festival in the Birnam Arts Centre.
The local authority signed off on plans to erect the statue in green space on Birnam’s Perth Road after an application was submitted to council last month following a fundraising campaign.
The permission was welcome news for the organisers of the Niel Gow Festival after they were forced to cancel this year’s event which should have taken place last weekend.
Pete Clark, one of the fundraisers for the statue, said the organisers had hoped to put in place the statue this summer but would now wait and see how things progressed over the coronavirus outbreak before committing to a date.
Pete said: “The festival has been going for 17 years so another few months or a year more doesn’t make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.
“We’ve got the approval. Once this virus subsides we’ll enjoy a day to celebrate.
“And the statue will be in a great location. In Birnam, there is a big grassy area and he’ll be standing there facing his home in Inver. It’s slap bang in the middle of Dunkeld, Birnam and Inver.
“It’s right beside the Royal School of Dunkeld so children will walk to school in the shadow of Niel Gow and learn about him.”
The sculpture is being “fine-tuned” by Cupar-based artist David Annand after being bronzed by Edinburgh company Powderhall.
Pete said: “The main statue is done. There’s still some finishing touches.
“Once it’s cast the sculptor just goes in a does the fine stuff after it’s set but for all intents and purposes, it’s finished.”
The statue could also become a starting point for the guided tours that Pete carries out between Dunkeld and Inver at the beginning of the Niel Gow Festival every year.