Pitching in to create fantastic match experience

Saturday’s Forest Pitch matches were a fantastic experience and it was a great pleasure to meet and chat to some of the local residents who turned up, despite the drizzle, to cheer on the teams.

The pitch looked great and the enthusiasm of the players and spectators was amazing.

As the artist behind the project, I want to offer my thanks, and those of the teams, to the residents, councillors, traders and contractors who gave us their support.

The youngsters from Kelso Junior Football Club who acted as ball-boys were just brilliant. Melrose Rugby Club were superb hosts for our post-match reception and I am particularly grateful to Borders MP Michael Moore for giving up his Saturday to attend the games and to make a generous speech in support of the project in the evening.

Of course this was really just the beginning of Forest Pitch. There will also be a book and a movie about the project.

And in October we will begin to create what Andrew Dixon, chief executive of project funder Creative Scotland, described as “a major piece of land art”. This involves planting the white lines of the temporary football ground with several varieties of native trees which will grow into a giant 3D ghost pitch sculpture.

Scotland has lost so much of its rich and diverse natural woodland over the centuries. I hope this will encourage people to think about how we treat the natural environment and what the proper balance should be between the wild and natural, and the farmed and commercially forested.

I also hope it will be a lovely place to visit and enjoy for many decades to come.

Craig Coulthard

Forest Pitch report and pictures, Page 17