Hopping hares and little leverets celebrate cancer charity’s vital work

Hopping hares are set to showcase artistic talents on a trail celebrating a cancer charity’s 40th anniversary.

The Clan Big Hop Sculpture Trail features 40 six-foot hares and 52 little leverets at locations across the north-east, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.

Clan says the trail which launched last night (Thursday), will take the public on a “cultural tour” of the region with sculptures designed by some of the nation’s most talented artists – including Shetland’s Yolanda Bruce and pupils in Unst.

Artist Yolanda Bruce with her hare Midnight Frolics by Moonlight.
Artist Yolanda Bruce with her hare Midnight Frolics by Moonlight.

Ms Bruce’s hare, entitled Midnight Frolics by Moonlight, and sponsored by Stagecoach, has been inspired by Shetland’s winter mountain hares and will be on display at Crathes Castle in Banchory.

She said: “The winters are long and dark here but the night sky is incredible and out on the moors, the white hares are frolicking in the moonlight.

“It gives me hope in the darkness.

“The winter may be long but there is beauty in the night, before the reappearance of the light, I just need to remember that.”

The former maths and physics teacher is currently in her third year of a fine art degree at UHI Shetland and said she “loves exploring new things”

She took part in Clan’s Lighthouse trail in 2021 and said she “really enjoyed it”.

When asked about her artistic approach, Ms Bruce said she hoped to capture the “remoteness, aliveness and light” of Shetland through her photography, painting and sculptures.

The only full-sized hare on display in Shetland can be found at Victoria Pier.

Dark Skies by Suffolk artist Anne-Marie Byrne and sponsored by SSE, focusses on Shetland and the Cairngorms as two places in Scotland where folk are able to see the night sky at its best – free from light pollution.

One of the smaller sculptures featured in the trail can be found at the Islesburgh Community Centre and has been produced by pupils at Baltasound Junior High School.

The pupils’ sculpture, named Tammie Norrie, is part of “The Wee Hop” trail.

Clan says the trail coincides its 40th anniversary, with the 40 hares being the focal point to celebrate the charity’s commitment to supporting people affected by cancer.

In partnership with Wild in Art the trail aims to raise awareness of the cancer ,charity which runs seven support centres and outreach programmes across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland, as well as to generate vital funding for its services.

Clan Cancer Support’s chief executive, Fiona Fernie, said: “It is so exciting to finally see our hare sculptures out in the wild after months of preparation with sponsors, artists and venues to bring this free art trail to communities across the north of Scotland.

“Each sculpture has been individually designed with many depicting a character or sparking a conversation about important topics including environmental issues and health and wellbeing.

“They all have a story to tell and are now waiting to be discovered.

“The Big Hop Trail is a wonderful activity which allows people of all ages to explore the beautiful scenery on offer across the north of Scotland and experience some truly unique and inspiring artwork, all whilst supporting Clan Cancer Support’s vital work.”

People taking part in the nine week trail are encouraged to download a map from Clan’s website and share photos of the sculptures on social media using #thebighoptrail.

The hares will remain on display until 3rd September when they will be gathered together for a final show at the Farewell Weekend event at Aberdeen Music Hall on 16th and 17th September.

The 40 large sculptures and five specially commissioned leveret sculptures will be sold at auction at The Music Hall on  the following Monday, with all proceeds going to Clan Cancer Support.

All leveret sculptures created by pupils will be returned to the school following the Farewell Weekend.

Visit www.thebighop.co.uk/ for more information.


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