Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Right, the answers to the competition. 
First realise my answers are based on my knowledge [as it is], and memory [poor as it is].

Picture 1. 
The village is Dunning, and is listed as having architectural interest as it covers a range of historical features throughout its buildings. One house was the only real 'undamaged' survivor of a highlander attack during the first major Jacobite rebellion of 1715. Apparently it's now been restored. It is one of those annoying fallacies that these rebellions [it and the Bonny Prince Charlie one of 1745] were Scotland rising against the English - a load of twaddle. 

The well itself stood at the top of the street where I lived and actually worked giving fresh spring water when I was a small boy. the village featured two such wells for many years [the other being in Tron Square]. At the back was a hill, the land then was 'empty' common land, and under the grass the hill was made mostly of sand - in fact, a 'sandpit' existed near the top and the steepness of the hill [from the old wood at the top down to behind the well] was the scene of many a sledging accident when young. lol.

Picture 2. 
The oldest church [there are two] in the village and its tower is an example of Norman {Romanesque} Architecture of about 1200 [though not the clock lol], and is called St Serf's. It stands by the edge of Tron Square in the so called 'centre' of the village. The tower has very narrow stairs and it has a lovely view from the top of the surrounding village where the bells are housed. Once, whilst sketching up there, and concentrating on what I was doing, I was caught by a peal of bells and alarmed nearly fell out one of the windows.

St Serf, who established the church in Dunning was, according to legend, where he fought and killed a Dragon that was terrorising the village. Part of the upper village is still called The Dragon [pronounced dreygon], and close by runs the Dunning Burn where people believed its lair [the Dragon's Den] still existed even when I was a boy. I was never convinced, but it was a nice myth. 

Picture 3/4.

This famous Celtic Cross - is the Dupplin Cross
Forteviot, which is close by, was once the last Pict capitol in Scotland, and the cross stood nearby in a field, near the River Earn, protected by an old fence but otherwise overgrown when I was young. It is a beautiful example of Celtic work, and now, after a lot of wrangling, stands in St Serf's church which stopped being a place of worship in 1972. It also has some lovely examples of late Victorian/Edwardian stain glass [see picture below].
For those interested - Forteviot, was also where Edward II had a hunting lodge and he was said to have been there, hunting the valley of Strathearn, the summer before the Battle of Bannockburn 1314 [near Stirling] . One of the great defeats of the English by the Scots, and an interesting aside, in 1513 at the battle of Flodden nearly 200 years later the Scots suffered their worst defeat against the English. In each case, in my opinion, the result of being led by puffed up arrogant fools. War does promote such, doesn't it.

Picture 5.
Happy penguins in front of St Mary's, Dundee by the Nethergate, apparently they are 'marching' towards the Discovery, Captain Scott's ship which is now berthed on the River Tay.

Picture 6. which features the infamous second Q.8 [AArgh!!] 
DC Thomson, is the most famous company in Dundee, and has been responsible for a whole range of comic titles. Having left Art College in Dundee, and having moved to England, I later freelanced for DC Thomson as a comic artist [this was during the early 80's]. The company has always been famous for two 'big foot' comics in particular - The Beano and The Dandy, who featured, among other great characters, Minnie the Minx and Desperate Dan [Dan's statue actually carries a copy of The Dandy]. 

Picture 7.
This cloud picture of a 'dragon' was seen over the village on our last visit. Often patterns, and combinations of objects, and surfaces, can help trigger imaginative ideas for creatures and other things. Such methods reach back to the ideas of Leonardo da Vinci as a source of artistic inspiration. 

The final question was about the local legend of a monument which can be found outside the village on the back road to Auchterarder, which itself is more famous for the Gleneagles Hotel and its golf courses. 
This monument is dedicated to the burning of a witch, called Maggie Walls in 1657. but no records can be found [they say] so it must be a myth. I beg to differ, when a student, I did a lot of research on the village, and, yes, there is no record of a Maggie Walls [witch or not]directly related to Dunning, but in the records of Perth, the city nearby, there was a record of a Maggie Walls accused of witchcraft at around that time. Yet no mention on the Internet; curious.

So there we go. A little about a Scottish village called Dunning, once a thriving market town with around 200 pubs [now 3]; with a Roman marching camp nearby; a standing stone commemorating an ancient battle [legend said], which where, as it was ploughed around, I watched it over the years 'shrink'. Dunning was also where I spent most of my better formative years as a young boy, where living in a house, [near the well in Q.1], that had originally been three three old weavers cottages joined together, strange events often happened. 

In finishing, I realise there were not many entries actually sent in, but thank you for all those who tried. 
I kind of suspect the time of posting was 'poor' and I should have planned it better, and if I ever do another, the competition will stay open for a week and all 'correct' entries will go into a hat, then the winner selected.


  1. How odd it must be to live somewhere with this "history" thing. :)

  2. broad shoulders [now hunched - sigh] :)

  3. Look's like a pretty neat and interesting place to grow up in! I hate flippin cities.

  4. It was Atom, didn't realise it at the time, but it was.
    Even when we moved to the city each school summer holiday was spent in the village. There was so many interesting things to: from going out with a poacher, to learn lore, to changing universe - interesting times, now lost as age atrophies the senses.

    The city did one thing though - I started to read, something,I think, my parents thought would never happen. lol.

    Of course it could be, as some have said, I'm just mad [in the best of all possible worlds].

  5. Lets just say artistically crazy! You have to be to live the life of a fantasy arteest! Its really a financial thing for me living in London, hopefully I can retire to Dunning (or somewhere just like it) in the future. I love the peace, solitude and oneness with nature and natural surroundings that always envelopes me when I'm out in the countryside. You just curl up and die early of stress when you stay in City environment's too long...

  6. Fair point, but please don't think of Dunning as thee place to be. It's changed a lot [or probably I have - grin]. I know what you mean about London. Great place to visit BUT... I lived, and worked there for 2 years till I became a victim of 70's recession, although the recession followed me [lol] I was always better in smaller places, even now, though it's not a village.

    Also, for those who are [also] reading this - next post will be about updates, and links, and find the .... {?}.

    PS haven't forgotten about your 'No Prize', it'll only exist on-line - now, do I have your email address?

    Nor have I forgotten the main prize - just a tad busy at mo'. My better half thinks I should get more organised ... chee, what about the artistic spirit!!

    Where's me' lily [or thingy whatsit] when tis needed [sigh].

    Note to self - posting comments early in morning is dumb.

  7. Well, it seems I stayed in the stands of this competition, it was finished before the idea that I should went into the arena came in my mind ^^
    Bravo to kevin for his celerity and thank you to Russ for the organisation of such a competition.
    Some pictures are very beautiful and give inspiration (I really appreciate the very first one and the dragon of clouds) and the answers are interesting (and evolving !? I don't remember the witch legend the first time I read the post..)
    when I was child I lived in a big city and I liked when we went to visit my grandparents who lived in the countryside, quiet, full of animals, insects, and where a group of trees were sufficient to create a mysterious wild forest (maybe full of goblins ?)
    I wonder then what looks like the countryside near Dunning. Have you got any picture ?

  8. Thanks a lot, M. Nicholson, for sharing with us all these stories about Dunning and your childhood. They are a true reward for all the unlucky competitors. Now it's difficult not to make a link between the old stones and stories of Dunning and your art... I will never look again at your Dragon of the Firetop Mountain, without thinking at the one of Dunning !

    And have I well read ? A Tron Square in Dunning ? ...

  9. My address is
    I got some fan art to send you tomorrow, not as good as Emmanuel's as I pretty much made a few study's of your master works for Warlock of Firetop Mountain. If it was not for you and your Fighting Fantasy illo's, I would never have become the Fighting Fantasy Freak I am today. Ta mate.

  10. And stop being modest...Dunning looks ace!