Unusual artwork appears on Portobello beach

Christmas trees on Portobello beach. Picture: Jane Barlow
Christmas trees on Portobello beach. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A NORMAL walk along Portobello Beach might consist of sand, sea, lots of wind and perhaps a dog playing fetch.

But over the past week, strolls at the beauty spot have become much more enticing, after a host of mysterious sights began popping up.

Tongues were first sent wagging after unusual stone and stick artworks appeared on the beach early last week.

And now another mystery has arisen – and no-one knows who is behind it.

Dozens of Christmas trees have been carefully planted a short distance from the water’s edge, leaving tourists fascinated and snapping as many pictures as they can.

Sean Watters, of Portobello Community Council, said: “I’ve seen pictures of the trees on Facebook but I haven’t seen them myself.

“I don’t know who has put them there but people often leave their Christmas trees out for collection and then there is a big bonfire on the beach.

“There was definitely a bonfire on Wednesday night but I’m not sure if there will be any more.”

Carolina Duczek, manager of the Beach House – a popular seaside cafe – said her customers have been intrigued by the Christmas trees.

She said: “The trees have certainly been a talking point for customers in our cafe.

“Everyone wants to know why they are there – all the tourists have been taking photographs of them.

“There was a bonfire where they burned some that were here earlier in the week, so I think they might burn these ones too.

“More and more have been getting planted. We are all wondering what is going to be next to appear.”

Portobello is no stranger to creations of the area’s growing community of contemporary artists.

Last year, Lauren Fox unveiled Tidal Octopus – a marine-themed installation made from specially sculpted sections of steel – as part of Art Walk Porty.

The festival was organised to showcase Edinburgh’s seaside and celebrate the public space and artistic activity of Portobello.

Damian Killeen, of the Big Things on the Beach arts project, has also worked on Portobello Beach.

He said: “People do things like this all the time on the beach.

“They are just playing around with whatever is there and this time it is trees.

“It happens – it isn’t any sort of art project.”

The mysterious monuments last week left some people saying that city artist Ken Shapely was “doing a Banksy” with his latest work.

But the artist has confirmed he is not responsible for the sculptures that left children puzzled.