National Land Art Winner!

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National Land Art Winner!

AJ Bell Tour of Britain national land art winner picks up her coveted award

The Aberdeenshire winner of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain national land art competition was presented with her coveted award today (Fri, Mar 4).

Craskins Farm near Tarland, which was passed during the race’s final stage between Stonehaven and Aberdeen, installed an imaginative and very colourful mini peloton.

The display was made using straw bales and recycled materials gathered from around the farm and roadside verges.

The work was the brainchild of Dr Jenna Ross, whose parents, Brian and Alison, farm in partnership with her older brother, Stewart. The judging panel, which included AJ Bell Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett, chose the display for its novelty factor as well as its environmental credentials.

During the race’s ITV4 live coverage, commentator Ned Boulting said of the display: “Cycling fans have used bales to represent bicycles for decades and I’ve never seen as inventive a use as that!”

Dr Ross previously created a straw bale display in support of NHS staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her peloton was repurposed six weeks after the race’s visit into a Halloween-inspired display for local children. Additionally, all of the farm’s displays raise money for North East Sensory Service (NESS), a local charity that supports people in the area who have hearing and/or sight loss.

More recently, Jenna created a Christmas bale art display at Inchmarlo care home near Banchory, to help bring festive joy to residents and care staff.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to win the 2021 Tour of Britain National Land Art Competition. It was such a pleasure to have this world-renowned event come to our very special corner of the world here at Queen’s View on Craskins Farm.

“The art was inspired by my younger brother, Duncan, who is registered blind and is passionate about cycling. Unfortunately the pandemic massively impacted his ability to get on his bike due to the social distancing challenges of a tandem bike. So this was for him!

“It was also for our local community and, of course, the brilliant competitors. I hope it gave each and every rider that extra push during their final climb of the race at Queen’s View! I also want to give a massive shout out to my entire family who helped with the final build the day before the race. Proper teamwork!”

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor, Peter Argyle, chair of the Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, who presented Dr Ross with her award, commented: “This is a richly-deserved title for Jenna who continues to put such a lot of imaginative thought into her designs which raise money for very deserving causes.

“Her colourful cycling creations to celebrate the arrival of the Tour of Britain in Aberdeenshire were captured on TV for a global audience and helped put the region firmly on the map. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our communities who came out to cheer on the cyclists and I very much look forward to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire hosting the first stage in September.”

Mick Bennett, AJ Bell Tour of Britain race director, said: “After the events of the past two years, it was incredibly heart-warming to see so much roadside support for this year’s AJ Bell Tour of Britain in September. The community spirit that makes the event so special was exemplified by the number and quality of those land art installations along the route.”