Scotland recently had its first nationwide art trail going by the name, ‘Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail,’ counting decorated statues that are based off the classic cartoon character. They say to write about your passions in life and over the past couple of months, I have become very passionate about Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail. I’ve taken many day trips revolving around the main incentive to collect more statues whether they be in Edinburgh or beyond. At first I thought it was just a nice wee thing to pop up as I had previously seen the dolphin and anchor trails in Aberdeen but now that the tour is nationwide, my enjoyment has escalated. I appreciated them from afar at first but over the past two months I’ve become a teeny bit obsessed.
There are two types of Oor Wullie statues; 200 large ones that are professionally decorated and taller than me, and 308 wee ones which are decorated by Primary School Children and are found in groups. I collected 114 of the large ones across Scotland and 88 wee ones but they were coded in groups instead of individually. I’m proud that I had a total of 202, especially as I didn’t start collecting until about halfway through the trail but I’m kicking myself a little for not starting earlier.
I’ve been to Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen hunting Oor Wullies as well as all across Edinburgh, South Queensferry and North Berwick. On the app, I can use the digital map to see exact locations and track how many statues I’ve collected. My most successful city was obviously Edinburgh as I collected 59 of the 60 statues as I never saw the one at the airport. If I had been collecting from the offset, when I got back from interrailing, I could have collected it then and had a full set. I shared my journey a lot on my Instagram stories which can now be viewed in a handy wee highlight on @beccamarriner. Having seen a fair number of the Oor Wullies, I wanted to share a few favourites from the trail as they go on to be auctioned off.
Oor Wee Yin’s Banter
Located in Glasgow at Royal Exchange Square, outside the Gallery of Modern Art, Oor Wee Yin’s Banter was designed by Rachel Tidmore. It was “inspired by the Year of Young People 2018, which celebrated the achievements of Young People in Scotland.” and as Rachel was the winner of the Year of Young People Champion of the Year award, it was fitting that she decorated it.
Thistle Do Nicely
Thistle Do Nicely (a fabulous pun) is located at Festival Square in Edinburgh and designed by Billy Hutchinson, It is obviously based off the thistle, the national flower of Scotland, and I particularly liked the way the design was incorporated into his hair.
The Amazing Oor Wullie
He was located at Aberdeen Beach and designed by Ke’ku:n Studio with the inspiration that laughter is the best medicine. I loved the old school look to the clown and wasn’t creeped out by it at all. I also attempted the classic pose for myself and realised that I do not have the stomach muscles required as you can see the photos for myself.
Oor Proclaimer’s 1 & 2
At Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, both Proclaimers were designed and decorated by Vanessa Gibson. They contrast each other nicely with with one in black and white and the other in colour. These were some of my favourites because they made me smile a lot.
Wullie’s Big Night at the Theatre
Dundee’s Big Night at the Theatre was one of the statues I found in Dundee. It was at The Dundee Rep Theatre which is celebrating its 80th anniversary and designed by Viktoria Begg, Leila Kalbassi, Kenneth Macleod and Keiron Sweeney. I liked the wee mask that he had, like he was representing comedy and tragedy.
Dance in the Rain
Dance in the Rain was slightly further out of Edinburgh at the Gyle Shopping Centre and was designed and painted by Lois Cordelia. I absolutely loved the gorgeous colours and silhouettes, in the watercolour effect. It’s based on the inspiration that, “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.”
A Reasonably Accurate Map of Glasgow
This Oor Wullie was found in Glasgow at the Riverside Museum, designed by Adrian McMurchie. It’s a map of Glasgow accompanied by “quirky text” which made me laugh when reading it. The map features some of the city’s main attractions like the Botanics and the Gallery of Modern Art.
Oor Bronze Boy
Scott Stewart designed this Oor Wullie that was located at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Dundee. I would love a pair of distressed, metallic dungarees and they would make a great outfit with my gold, sparkly Doc Martens. It definitely had the classic statue look which was pulled off so nicely.
Despite being the only person that I know that was enthusiastic about the trail, there were plenty of other trail wanderers across Scotland. In total, 1,540,949 Oor Wullie statues were collected across the country, the most collected being Oor Rod on Buchanan Street in Glasgow. The average number of statues collected was 46/508 which only adds to my feeling of self-achievement.
Whilst the trail is technically over, there’s still a chance to see Oor Wullie before he’s sold off at auction. The five host cities; Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness are hosting farewell events on the weekend of the 13th-15th of September. Some of the events are ticketed but luckily for me, the Edinburgh one is not so I will be heading to St. Andrews Square to see them all. Not to mention that I’ll get a nosey at the statue that alluded me at Edinburgh Airport.
The statues will be auctioned off on the 16th of September at various locations across Scotland to raise money for The Archie Foundation, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity. If previous, similar auctions are anything to go buy, I can imagine a staggering amount of money will be raised for all the worthy causes. I will likely be watching the auction online as it is being streamed.
In all honesty, I’m really going to miss going Oor Wullie hunting and seeing them when I’m going about my life in Edinburgh. It really did get me off my bahookie this Summer as I definitely wouldn’t have done as much walking without them as motivation. I hope it’s not long before another trail like this happens, especially as they seem to crop up every couple of years. I hope any trails in the future are nationwide again because I love exploring Scotland and this has certainly given me the motivation to do it more.