The Bings, 2014

The bings are colossal spoil heaps comprising the tailings of the once globally-important West Lothian shale oil industry – the birthplace of modern oil extraction.

Since workings ended in the early 1960s, the bings have been gradually re-appropriated as an unlikely leisure ground, site of nationally-significant biodiversity and a monumental symbol of West Lothian identity.

The unintentionally-beautiful sculpted slopes of the bings are slowly being reclaimed by birch woodland and grassy meadows. In places, this almost completely obscures the industrial origins of the land they lie upon.

The bings are also at the core of the vibrant, central-belt motocross scene. The faces of the tips are relentlessly altered by their tracks with each passing weekend.

The bings are not without their issues and they fall foul of the usual problems associated with derelict land, with fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour being the key problems.

Exhibitions

The Bings was shown throughout Scotland. A selection of images from and a copy of the accompanying booklet produced in collaboration with Alistair Findlay is held at the West Lothian Local History Museum.

  • 2015, Evidence, Fife FOTOSPACE, Glenrothes
  • 2014/15, Futureproof, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow
  • 2014, Gallery Ten, Edinburgh
  • 2014, Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show

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