Giant Wicker Beltie Bull To Tour Dumfries & Galloway

A one-tonne wicker Beltie bull which earned international stardom at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Showcase is soon to start a homecoming tour of Dumfries & Galloway.

He has been named after the parish of Kelton, with its strong agricultural history. The name is also a nod to the National Trust for Scotland’s Threave Landscape Restoration Project which is getting underway at the nearby Kelton Mains Farm.

In the coming months he can be seen at a variety of locations and events including:

  • The Tour Series Cycle Race, Castle Douglas, 12 August
  • The Castle Douglas Bike and Food Festival 13-15 August
  • Kirkcudbright Summer Festivities for a week from 16 August
  • Crawick Multiverse, near Sanquhar on 28 and 29 August
  • Wigtown Book Festival will play host to Kelton for the duration of the event from 22 September to 4 October (and a few days either side).

Crawick Multiverse is delighted that Kelton will be a guest of honour at the two-day Music at the Multiverse event on 28 and 29 August, and which is part of the Sanquhar Arts Festival.

The bull, which stands nearly three metres tall, was seen worldwide on live streamed video from The Royal Highland Showground at Ingliston in June and also featured in many newspapers and magazines.

He was created to highlight all that’s best about the arts, culture, countryside, environment and rural economy of Dumfries & Galloway during the Royal Highland Showcase.

And he will continue in that role when he comes home, where he will now be placed in the care of The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership scheme.

McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Leader, said:After flying the flag for the region at the Royal Highland Showcase, it is great to welcome the wicker Beltie back where he belongs.
“The Belted Galloway is one of the most recognisable iconic exports from Dumfries & Galloway.
“Using our funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Galloway Glens Scheme is supporting a range of initiatives up and down the Ken/Dee valley, including the National Trust for Scotland’s Threave Landscape Restoration Project.
This is a 100-year vision for returning the 80-hectare Kelton Mains Farm near Threave Castle, outside Castle Douglas, to a self-balancing and self-managing mosaic of habitats.
Cathy Agnew, who managed Dumfries & Galloway’s arts and cultural input into the Royal Highland Showcase and came up with the idea for the wicker bull, said:I’m so pleased that Trevor Leat’s wonderful creation will now have an ongoing legacy and has already become somewhat of an icon for the region. 
“Kelton has a real presence and character about him – of course he’s hefted to Galloway – and I’m sure he will absolutely delight the public as he visits different communities.
“Kelton seems a highly appropriate name as it underlines his connection to the region and its historic identity as a heartland of Scottish agriculture.”
Carolyn Yates, Chair of Castle Douglas Development Forum, organisers of the CD Bike and Food Festival, added: “As hosts of the CD Bike and Food Festival associated with the great finale for the Tour Series this summer, we are proud of our market town tradition.
“As the official home of the Galloway Cattle Society and Wallets Mart, linked to livestock auctioneering in Castle Douglas since humble beginnings back in 1856, it is both appropriate and an honour that Kelton is starting his regional journey here on Market Hill.” 

About the wicker bull – he:

  • was created in Auchencairn by willow artist Trevor Leat
  • weighs in at over a tonne
  • measures 4.2m long and is 3m tall
  • took three weeks to build
  • is made from willow grown by Trevor in Scotland and some brought specially from the Somerset levels
  • has dark areas created using steamed willow and a white belt of stripped willow
  • was made using 22 bundles of willow, each weighing 18kg, woven round a special frame.

The bull was made by Dumfries & Galloway willow artist, Trevor Leat. Trevor’s figures are familiar from Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, the Wickerman music festivals and a variety of National Trust for Scotland properties.

Kelton was commissioned by the Dumfries & Galloway Royal Highland Showcase team, with support from sources including the Galloway Glens Scheme and Dumfries and Galloway Council.

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