A Maggie’s Penguin Parade artist hopes to hit the fundraising heights this summer after he carried his creation to the top of the Sidlaw Hills.
Douglas Roulston, 34, is a keen mountain biker and opted to paint his penguin to celebrate the hills to the north of Dundee where he has spent so many enjoyable days on the trails.
However, as a lover of the outdoors, Douglas decided his work could not be confined to the studio. So, with the help of friend Richard Main, 40, he carried 5ft and 50kg Sid the Penguin the 1.5 miles to the summit of Balkello Hill to finish some of the fine details.
Douglas, who teaches art at Forfar Academy, says he was soon reconsidering the wisdom of his idea as the pair’s arms and legs began to burn just yards from starting out at Balkello Community Woodland car park near Tealing.
He said: “We had a few dodgy moments thinking Sid was going to fall off but it survived and I was just so pleased to have Sid up in the spectacular scenery of the Sidlaws.
“I can’t believe we managed to haul it all the way to the top. Our arms were very sore.”
After their herculean march, Douglas and Richard summoned up just enough energy to lift Sid on to the cairn — where he attracted plenty of attention.
Laura Brown was out walking in the Sidlaws for the first time and was amazed to find a giant penguin at the top.
Laura said: “I absolutely did not expect to see that — a nice view, perhaps, but not a penguin!
“It’s amazing. It’s so detailed and accurate.”
Douglas and Richard carried Sid on a Second World War stretcher he had borrowed from his school’s history department and says they had to reassure a series of walkers that they were not trying to dispose of a body.
Douglas added: “It’s something you don’t see every day. That was the fun bit.
“It was really nice having people come up and saying hello and wondering what we were doing.”
Douglas hopes the stunt will help to raise awareness of the Sidlaws, which he says are still not fully appreciated.
He added: “They’ve put a lot of work into Balkello and the Sidlaws and I’m really wanting to promote the area for cyclists and walkers.
“It has spectacular views of the city and the Angus glens but it’s really under-used.”
Once complete, Sid will join the 79 other penguins in this summer’s parade before being auctioned. Douglas hopes his eye-catching effort will help to ensure he raises a bundle for the “fantastic” Maggie’s Centre.
He said: “It’s just such a worthwhile cause and if I can do anything to promote the Maggie’s Centre’s work supporting people with cancer, I’m delighted to do so.”
Art with imagination
Douglas recently showed his love of the unusual when he carved a giant snowman in the shape of Star Wars villain Darth Vader — raising hundreds of pounds for Maggie’s in the process.
His creation during the Beast from the East weather blast became the talk of Broughty Ferry and led to a stream of visitors to his home, many of whom donated to his charity collection.
Douglas studied art at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee and, as well as teaching at Forfar Academy, he specialises in Scottish landscape painting.
He says he likes to use his imagination and vivid colours to reflect the changing weather of Scotland, creating turbulent skies and wild waters — themes hinted at in his penguin design.