Where to find unicorns in Scotland, August 2014

I soon discovered they may be magical and mythical but unicorns are not trivial. You can find them in buildings across the country in councils and court rooms, schools and even bakers (by royal consent). There are literally millions of the beasts being magically invisible on the front of passports up and down the United Kingdom.

Unicorns were ubiquitous and conspicuous in past centuries, appearing on royal insignia, shields and anywhere power was exerted. Two were resident on the royal branding until the Union of Crowns in 1603 when James IV of Scotland also became James I of England. He expanded the Unicorn’s population over the border as an equal partner to the English Lion on the new coats of arms. He also commissioned a world famous Bible which hosts nine cameo appearances from the unicorn. This was a heyday for the Scottish unicorn.

I remembered that in Dundee there is a ship called the Unicorn. The war-frigate is moored beside some new build houses in the waterfront dock overlooked likes the beast itself. The figurehead is perhaps Scotland’s largest unicorn- a six-foot high beast gleaming in the sunlight of Scotland’s sunniest city.

What follows is the actual transcript of that phonecall.

Me: “Hi is that Peter? This might sound odd but I am looking for unicorns”

*Hold breath*

Peter: “My life is unicorns”

Watch The National Beastie.

Kieran Dodds Where to find unicorns in Scotland, August 2014 The Unicorn is Scotland's national beast dating from its time as an independent nation.  Heraldic wood carver Peter Stewart-Blacker (left) inspects the fibreglass copy of his original figure head on the Frigate Unicorn in Dundee. The mythical animal is composed of horse, goat and lion parts with a single horn said to contain magical powers.  The beast appears on coats of arms opposite it's English counterpart the lion and also on the Mercat cross, the centre of civic life in independent Scotland for centuries.