Bleating a path round Skipton – 25 giant sheep

Craven Herald: The sheep painted by artist Anna Tosney The sheep painted by artist Anna Tosney

They’re big and loud – and they’re anything but sheepish.

As part of the tenth anniversary celebrations of Skipton’s Millennium Walk, the town council is planning a re-launch.

And to guide people along the walk – which follows a route through the town – it is planning to commission around 25 outsized model sheep.

Each sheep will be mounted on a base and decorated in a unique way by an artist, a designer or even a school.

Town manager Brett Butler said the idea was not only to bring visitors to the town, but also to show residents what they are missing.

The Skipton Millennium Walk has an accompanying leaflet, which is available from the tourist office and guides people around the town via a series of waymarkers placed in pavements.

It pays special attention to historical aspects of the town, including the less obvious.

Mr Butler said: “We want people who live here to know all about the Millennium Walk as well. It’s one of those things – when you live somewhere, you don’t always know what a place has got.”

The idea of the giant sheep came from Liverpool’s now iconic Super Lamb Banana sculpture.

The original yellow sculpture was created by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo for the 1998 Art Transpennine Exhibition and similar giant creatures have since become a marketing phenomenon.

At this year’s Grassington Festival, giant curlews were placed strategically around the village.

Mr Butler said the plan was for around 25 model sheep, but that would depend on sponsorship.

“Each one costs around £2,000 and we will need to get every one of them sponsored. We should get money from the Business Improvement District (BID) and from the town council, but we will need support from elsewhere,” he said.

The idea is that the re-launch will take place next summer, with appeals for designers and artists beginning at the end of the year.

“We shall be asking people to send in their designs and we’ll have a panel of judges to pick the best ones,” said Mr Butler.

To give people an idea what to expect, the council has already commissioned one sheep and got Skipton artist Anna Tosney to decorate it with scenes of Skipton.

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