Ewen, Westies of Craggan - the latest Kev Paxton sculpture on the award winning BLiSS art trail, has been named after a local tourism hero.
The sculpture was unveiled by its namesake's widow and granddaughter on St Angus Church grounds at the entrance to Sustrans cycle route 7 Lochearnhead, where West Highland Terriers were once bred.
The metal dog installation, by blacksmith and TV personality Kev Paxton, was commissioned by the Loch Earn Tourism Information (LETi) group during Visit Scotland "Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology" using an ArtRoots grant awarded by the national cycle charity Sustrans Scotland.
The Trustees of St Angus Church enabled the sculpture to be sited on its grounds at the Craggan Road entrance off the A84. Minister Paddy Allen said "This charming sculpture puts the gateway to St Angus Church and the old railway walkway on the map. A delightful route for cyclists and dog walkers of all ages."
West Highland Terriers were once bred in the Craggan by Lady MacGregor of MacGregor's sister and neighbour, The Hon Torfrida Rollo. Current resident Libby Ransom shared her story of coincidence. "In the early 1950's I was living in Hertfordshire. My mum answered a late availability advert to purchase a West Highland Terrier pup that had been destined for Canada. "Jest of Kendrum" arrived by train from Scotland. In the 1970's, I moved to the Craggan with my husband John. Decades later I re-discovered the paperwork with Jest's pedigree. Imagine the goosebumps when I spotted the breeder's signature was Miss Rollo's. I'm sorry I did not discover my retired neighbour's profession before she died. Jest's journey had begun at Craggan Kennels. Wrapped up warmly in a box, he would have been put on the train at Balquhidder Station - Lochearnhead station had already closed but Balquhidder was still served by the overnight train from Oban to Euston. In this district much of the line it used has now become National Cycle Route 7" she said.
LETi Chair Kim Proven said, "The dog tag reads "Ewen". We named the sculpture after Ewen Cameron OBE, a man who did much for tourism around Loch Earn and beyond, leaving LETi with a legacy to build on."
Ewen's widow Anne Cameron, who unveiled the sculpture with her granddaughter Lottie said, "My husband was a larger than life character fondly remembered to this day for many things, including starting the Lochearnhead Water Ski Club in 1955 with me skiing on the bonnet of a Morris Minor. He became Chair of the British Water Ski Federation and a member of the Sports Council and Scottish Tourist Board. He was Scottish Heavyweight Champion and revived the BLS Highland Games where the Ewen Cameron trophy is presented to this day. He published a book of old Lochearnhead and local village photo's, met her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and regularly attracted famous An Comunn singers like Kenny McRae, Calum Kennedy, Alasdair Gillies as well as Bobby MacLeod and his band, to the original Lochearnhead Hotel that we owned. He even appeared on 'What's My Line' on television and competed in the hammer against Bill Travers who went on to become Olympic Champion ....well, their characters did, in the classic Scottish film 'Geordie' (1955)."
We named the sculpture after Ewen Cameron OBE, a man who did much for tourism around Loch Earn and beyond, leaving LETi with a legacy to build on.Kim Proven
Lottie Cameron, Ewen's granddaughter said, "My dad Angus is the current President of the annual BLS Highland Games that takes place in Lochearnhead in July. He followed in granddad's footsteps, providing hospitality and events in the community and he owns Lochside Cottages accommodation. Now at 25, I am working on a business plan, in this tourism 'Year of Young People 2018'. I am considering how I can make a business contribution and continue the Cameron tourism legacy."
There are three permanent Kev Paxton sculptures on the regional Scottish Thistle Award winning BLiSS art trail and two at visiting sculpture locations. Ewen, Westies of Craggan in Lochearnhead and Drover's Bho (a metal cow) in Strathyre are linked by Sustrans NCR7.
Since collaborating with LETi on The BLiSS Art Trail, blacksmith Kev Paxton has become a household name, demonstrating his skills on BBC TV's 'Money for Nothing' and in a new BBC programme 'Flipping Profit' which will air in April. His work will also be represented at Chelsea Flower Show this year.
Greyfriars Bobby sculpture fans have been asked to refrain from touching the old timer in Edinburgh. Ewen is a robust young pup, the newest addition to the BLiSS art trail, whose job is to welcome visitors and highlight Sustrans cycle route 7 via St Angus Church in Lochearnhead. He deserves a pat on the back from outdoor fans and art lovers and will sit for photographers all year round.
For information on Loch Earn tourism go to www.robroycountry.com