The largest gathering of Skye Terriers for many years met at Armadale Castle on the Isle of Skye on Thursday 24th July to witness the unveiling of a statue to this very rare breed by HRH The Princess Royal.
Aptly named ‘The Homecoming’ the unveiling of the statue of two life size Skye Terriers was witnessed by over 40 Skye Terriers and their owners, who had travelled from all over the UK and as far away as the USA to join in the celebration of the breed in its native homeland.
They were also able to see a new display on the Skye Terrier at the Museum of the Isles in the grounds of Armadale Castle.
The Skye Terrier is Britain’s most endangered native breed of dog*. To raise awareness and promote greater understanding of the breed the Skye Terrier Club have spent the last two years raising money for a permanent statue to be created.
The life-size bronze statue of a ‘prick-ear’ and a ‘drop-ear’ Skye Terrier has been sculpted by the renowned, Wiltshire based artist, Georgie Welch and cast by Pangolin Editions, Europe’s leading sculpture foundry. It now stands at a view point looking towards visitors as they walk down a footpath overlooking the water and is mounted on a granite base hewn from a local quarry on Skye and gifted to the Club. The plinth is low to allow visitors, in particular children, to touch and interact with the work.
Commenting on the day, Jenny Kendrick, Chair of the Skye Terrier Club said “We are delighted and greatly honoured that the Princess was able to unveil the statue and took so much interest in the breed. The Skye Terrier is often called the ‘heavenly breed’ and they certainly brought heavenly weather with them. We would also like to thank Clan Donald for all their support and as the dogs are part of the island’s heritage we hope that ‘The Homecoming’ will give the thousands of visitors, from home and overseas, who visit Armadale Castle’s grounds and museum every year a greater knowledge and understanding of these intelligent, loving and loyal dogs”.
Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director, added: “The addition of this beautiful Skye Terrier statue, appropriately named ‘The Homecoming’ in its homeland gives the thousands of visitors who flock to Armadale Castle each year the chance to learn more about these loyal dogs whilst taking in the beautiful surroundings of the castle, museum and grounds.
“Skye attracts thousands of visitors each year to take in its beautiful scenery, wildlife, history and culture and the addition of this unique sculpture at one of its star attractions can only add to the region’s appeal.”
For more information on The Skye Terrier Club, explore the pages of this website. For more stunning photos and stories of the day, please visit the Facebook page ‘Skye Terrier Club’.
*The Skye Terrier topped the Kennel Club list of endangered breeds in 2013. They estimate there are only 400 of the breed left in the UK and figures for the registration of puppies fell to a record low of just 17 puppies in 2013. The Kennel Club’s list of endangered native breeds monitors those whose numbers are below 300 puppy registrations each year, which is thought to be a suitable level to sustain a population. An ‘at watch’ list monitors those between 300 and 450 registrations per annum that could be at risk if their numbers continue to fall.