Festivals, Cultural and City Events

Oor Wullie turns Detective in Old College's Quad

Over the last few weeks, you might have spotted one of the 60 life-sized Oor Wullie sculptures positioned around the city as part of Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail. Ian Rankin, Edinburgh’s local crime fiction writer, came to visit one such sculpture that he helped to co-create - situated in our very own Old College quad.

Oor Wullie is a ‘wee Scottish laddie’ from the fictional town of Auchenshoogle, who first appeared in The Sunday Post comic strip in the 1930s and is a much loved part of Scottish Heritage. His image is iconic - dressed in black dungarees with a spiky haircut, he is usually seen sat on a bucket. On Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail, it is a very similar scene. Although the life-sized sculptures were individually designed by 100 artists and reflect unique aspects of Scotland’s diverse culture, they are all unmistakably Wullie.

Ian Rankin and "Oor Sherlock Holmes"

Last week, Ian Rankin came to sit upon the bucket next to his Oor Wullie in Old College’s historic quad. “Oor Sherlock Holmes” is a collaboration between Rankin and Edinburgh-based artist Chris Rutterford and was sponsored by the University. The sculpture pays tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic character, complete with deer-stalker hat, cap and pipe. Given Oor Wullie’s pose – legs kicked upwards into the air and a hearty belly laugh – he is a slightly more jubilant Sherlock than some of the more serious and brooding depictions we often see in popular culture!

The artist, Chris, has done a phenomenal job of really bringing Sherlock Holmes to life and I’m especially pleased that this Wullie is located where Conan Doyle would have studied. This is a great thing to be a part of as I’m a huge Oor Wullie fan, having grown up on Oor Wullie and The Broons. I still get the annual every year. It’s also fantastic because the trail is supporting such a wonderful cause. My son has severe special needs and was diagnosed at the Sick Kids so we have first-hand experience of the amazing work of the hospital and the charity.

Ian Rankin Scottish Crime Fiction Writer

The money raised from the trail is going to Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC), Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity (GCHC) and the ARCHIE Foundation. ECHC supports and complements Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC), where Ian has previously spent time with his son.

This is the world’s first nationwide public arts trail, with 200 sculptures in total gracing Scotland across Edinburgh, Glasgow and the West, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, making their appearance something of an unmissable spectacle. They are on display until August 30th, at which point they will be auctioned off at an invite-only event taking place on Thursday 19 September at Prestonfield House Stables. For more information about buying a sculpture or bidding online, please email hello@oorwullie.com.

For more information or to donate, visit https://echcharity.org/