Top dogs complete The Big Dog Art Trail as 100,000 sculptures are collected
Date published: 4 August 2023
With The Big Dog Art Trail in full swing, plenty of paw prints have been made across Swindon to tick off all 72 sculptures.
With more than 3,000 players signing up to take part on the trail within the first weekend, that number has now doubled, with almost 100,000 sculptures collected on the app, and 6,500 miles of walkies taking place.
Among those playing is 11-year-old Ryan Hall, of Badbury Park, who was determined to be top dog and took the title of being the first person to complete the trail on the first day.
Having started with the Dog Rogers Swindog, situated outside The County Ground, Ryan and his mum had completed the haul of balloon dog sculptures just after midday on the opening day of the trail.
His adventures took him to The Wyvern Theatre to meet the panto stars at the theatre’s launch event and up to Old Town where he met artists Judy and Morgan Guillery.
“I’ve enjoyed going around collecting the Swindogs,” he said.
“It’s been really exciting and my favourites have been the space dog (Cosmo the Space Dog) or the pink and purple one (Creative Twist) by the station.
“It feels pretty nice to be the first person to complete The Big Dog Art Trail and I wasn’t expecting it.”
The trail consists of 30 Swindog sculptures and 42 Swinpups, with both an app and physical map available for collectors to find them all.
When using the app, there are rewards available when each Swindog is unlocked that have been provided by the trail’s sponsors.
The trail is fully accessible and has been enjoyed by adults and children alike, including Becky Harrison from Freshbrook who walked a total of 19 miles to collect all 72 sculptures.
She commented: “We had so much fun and it’s a great activity to do as a family or just adults who are a bit bonkers, like us.
“As a person who is registered blind I also wanted to say thank you for placing the dogs in accessible areas and for the dogs that were tactile such as the one at Lydiard Park Gardens and the Penny for your Thoughts Dog at the Outlet. These were fantastic to have a feel and really explore the Art.
“It was a brilliant experience and a day we’ll never forget.”
The trail is being run to raise money and awareness for Julia’s House children’s hospice, who provide a lifeline of care for the most seriously ill children and their families across Wiltshire and Dorset.
Chris Hyde, Big Dog Art Trail Project Manager, said, “We’re delighted to confirm that Ryan is ‘top dog’ on our app player leaderboard and officially the very first person to complete The Big Dog Art Trail!
“We were really pleased to meet Ryan and his family earlier today at the Wyvern Theatre when he was just over halfway through his mission.
“What a paw-some achievement, well done Ryan!
“We hope everyone else enjoys spotting all the Swindogs and Swinpups across Swindon this summer.”
Download The Big Dog Art Trail app to discover the sculptures, collect rewards and track your trail steps with the pedometer here.
Or pick up your trail map for a £1 donation from Steam Museum shop, Lydiard House hotel, Swindon Hub and other locations and libraries across town. See a full list of stockists here.