Sunnyside Estate News

New Burns memorial built from Sunnyside stone

A new cairn has been built to mark the spot next to Sunnyside Estate where Scotland’s national Robert Burns poet stopped when visiting the area.

And it has been constructed using stone from the old Sunnyside building.

The work is down to the dedication of members of the Montrose Burns Club, who have organised the refurbishment and fundraising for the new cairn that contains the Burns plaque which has been removed from the old wall to preserve it.

In 1787, Burns and his friend Willie Nicol stopped to water their horses on the drove road at Rosemount, next to Sunnyside, after visiting the ancestral home of his father and family at Clochnahill in the Mearns.

But the historic tie might have been lost were it not for the efforts of four men at the old Sunnyside hospital.

CJ Shaw, the Sunnyside superintendent, and two orderlies, Joseph Harris and Willie Herd kept the Burns connection alive along with Adam Christie.

Christie was the outside artist who came from Shetland, and is remembered for his body of work in sculpture, painting and fiddle making, over his 50 years as a patient in Sunnyside hospital. He carved the memorial stone in 1930, sculpting with only rudimentary tools, nails and glass, and it was placed into the wall as the memorial to Robert Burns.

Which is why inside the new cairn there is a sculpted head in the likeness of an Adam Christie head, sculpted from a piece of Shetland stone by Brian Wyllie of Pitmures.

The cairn itself was designed by Crawford architects and built by Brian Doig Builders of Arbroath.

Montrose Burns Club expressed their gratitude to Sunnyside for providing the stone for the memorial, which gives a solid link to the four men of Hillside who placed the original Burns plaque, and the fabric of the new memorial cairn now housing that plaque.

Jamie Pert, a director of the Sunnyside Estate, is a past club president of the Montrose Burns Club, which holds a commemoration each September to remember both Robert Burns and the “four good men of Hillside”.

Two of the main roads in our development have been named Adam Christie Avenue and Robert Burns Drive.

The club is still looking for donations to cover the total costs of erecting the cairn. You can donate here.