A grassy slope in the village of Ae is home to the remarkable 4.9m or 16ft high Ae Totem Pole. Carved from wood, this stunning sculpture looks northeast from the village out over the valley of the Water of Ae towards the Forest of Ae.
A plaque at the foot of the totem pole notes that it was placed here as a result of the Ae Youth Eye Project in 2006, and funded by various local bodies including the Forestry Commission, who built the village of Ae in 1947. The totem pole was carved by Peter Bowsher, a noted chainsaw sculptor who has been winner on several occasions of the Scottish Open Chainsaw title.
The Ae Totem Pole is well worth going out of your way to visit. Its entire surface is covered in carvings, separated from one another a background pine cone motif. What is really nice is simply spending time identifying all the elements of the local community and landscape which appear on the pole, carved with a beautiful simplicity and a lot of humour.
Many of these elements are shown in the images on this page. The natural world is represented by an eagle, a heron, an otter, a deer, a fox, a pheasant, a squirrel and an owl. The local economy finds reflection in elements representing the forest and forestry. These include the large axe at the top of the totem pole, a logging machine, and a truck carrying cut logs. Leisure pursuits in evidence include a mountain biker heading downhill, apparently at speed, and a footprint left by a hiker's boot. But a picture is worth a thousand words, and you get a better idea of the carvings from the images on this page: or, better still, by visiting Ae yourself.