Sawtooth Ramps

(The Pyramids)

Motorola Pyramids by Bathgate
©2021 Gazetteer for Scotland

Motorola Pyramids by Bathgate

Popularly known as the Pyramids, the Sawtooth Ramps are a public art installation that overlooks the east-bound carriageway of the M8 motorway 1½ miles (2.5 km) northeast of Blackburn and 2 miles (3 km) east southeast of Bathgate. Comprising the first component of the M8 Art Project, which has gone on to place sculpture at various locations along the road between Edinburgh and Glasgow, the 305-m (1000-foot) long sculpture of seven 11-m (36-foot) high ramps are built of earth and seeded with grass, which is kept short by grazing sheep. Further interest was added in 2007, when these sheep were dyed bright red.

Commissioned following an international competition by American electronics multi-national Motorola, for the edge of their Easter Inch mobile-phone manufacturing plant that operated a between 1992 and 2001, the Sawtooth Ramps were the work of New York-based environmental artist Patricia Leighton and constructed in 1993.

Leighton was inspired by the natural and industrial history of the West Lothian landscape. The Five Sisters Bing is a prominent nearby remnant of an oil-shale industry, while an existing drumlin - an elongated hummock deposited by glacial action - was adapted as part of the earthwork.

The Sawtooth Ramps featured on BBC television's The One Show in 2008.

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