Why was he here? We wanted to celebrate the successful first year of the Discover Bute Project. We have spent £750,000, sustained 13 full time equivalent jobs and involved around 3000 volunteers (about 50/50 adults and children) in all kinds of things from hedge planting and path building to Storytelling and archaeology. Our biggest capital project was reclaiming the defunct Tramway route and making it a safe path from one side of the island to the other. It is already very popular. The Giant opened this for us and helped us to celebrate the achievement.
I knew from first hearing about plans for the Big Man, way back in 2008, that I still wanted the Big Man for Bute. The idea spoke to me, even as a cut and paste drawing of a big chap in a tartan bonnet, an early concept. He made me smile. The Big Man makes people smile big-time, as was evidenced this weekend. He brings smiles, joy and laughter, to all ages.
David Rennie from the Step-Up Project and I set up the partnership to source additional funds from Homecoming to deliver the Big Man Walking events through community projects. We have been working on this since the spring. The Big Man Walking team provided Aille and Conrad who came and worked with our own people locally, special mention to Jessica Herriot, to deliver all the workshops and events to make the lanterns, the banners, the music, the theatre and the dance for the events of the weekend.
The weather held and the crowds were massive.
• Around 800 for the lantern parade to summon the Giant on the Friday,
• Around 2000 in the square for the awakening of the Big Man,
• Hundreds followed him to the Pavilion,
• Around 600 congregated at the sailing club to see the Giant take a nap,
• Around a thousand people attended the ceilidh
• About 700 people walked the Tramway to Ettrick Bay and participated in the traditional seaside pastimes laid on out there.
• On Monday, despite the rain, more than 100 kids lined up the wave and to yell ‘bye bye big guy’, tears were shed, by the adults too. It was incredibly moving.
It has been an amazing four days. Thanks are due to a vast number of individuals, groups, organizations and businesses for making these four days that will go down in the annals of Bute history.
One of my favourite outputs has been the updating of the Bute Museum archive. Photos of sandcastle contests from 1909 will now sit alongside ours from 2009, ditto donkeys. That makes me smile too.
But this is not the end, nay ‘tis only the beginning. The Step-Up Project/ Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme partnership is still in business and we already have some tentative plans for September next year. If you want to get involved contact either Bridget or David on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Co-ordinator, Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme