I’ve just had a wonderful trip around Scotland kipping in a van, celebrating my 50th year. One of the many fascinating places we visited was the garden created by the artist Ian Hamilton Finlay known as “Little Sparta”.
He built it as a work of art in it’s own right, filling it with sculptures and plaques lettered with phrases referring to the beauty of the world, remembrance of his friends lost in the war, the futility of war and the fall of the classical empires.
There’s no specific route around the garden, but as you wonder around, it infiltrates your mind and you begin to get a feeling for what he was endeavouring to express.
It really brought home to me how powerful simple inscriptions can be, how permanent they feel in stone, and how big ideas can be expressed in so few words.
It’s all set in a wild spot, on top of a hill in the lowlands of Scotland. Everything you look at has the back drop of the hills rolling off into the distance. If you’re ever in the area it is definitely worth a detour.