Tue 30 May 2017
I love Greyfriars Bobby. I used to walk past this little statue of the Skye Terrier every day when I was at college. The charming story of Greyfriars Bobby attracts tourists from all over the world to the memorial, which stands at the top of Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh.
One thing I never noticed back in my student days was a shiny nose! A new trend has emerged, which is making his nose so shiny. About 5 years ago, a tour guide started encouraging groups of tourists to rub Bobby’s nose for good luck. The idea took off and now people are rubbing his nose all day long. Sadly, this is causing it to wear away.
I noticed how bad poor Bobby was looking the other day and did some research into the issue. The statue is very difficult and expensive to repair. The constant rubbing is not just taking off the black surface paint, but actually changing the shape of the nose and removing the detail. The statue dates from 1873 and it is so sad to see damage being done to this historic monument, little by little, every single day.
There have been several campaigns over the last few years, raising awareness of the problem. One person even put signs around Bobby’s neck, asking people not to touch his nose. I suppose eventually the council might have to raise the statue out of arms reach or move it to a safer place. It would be such a shame to move Bobby after over 140 years, but I do hope they are working on some kind of solution.
In the meantime, this is my plea to the tourists of Edinburgh. I know your intentions are good and you just want to experience the traditions of our city. However, please be assured that rubbing Bobby’s nose is not a real tradition. It is causing permanent damage … and will not bring you good luck. Please leave poor Bobby’s nose alone!