Tour guides help bid to preserve Greyfriars Bobby statue

Tour guides have stepped in to help the campaign to save Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh from damage by warning tourists not to rub the beloved statue.

The Greyfriars Bobby statue outside Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh.

The move comes after a Facebook campaign was launched in a bid to stop the spread of the recent habit of tourists rubbing Bobby in the belief it will bring them luck.

The trend has led to the coating of the famous statue being rubbed away, exposing the underlying brass metal on Bobby’s entire muzzle and parts of his chest.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Reel Edinburgh Tours has posted a public service announcement on its website in the hope of discouraging the practice.

“Bobby shouldn’t be rubbed under any circumstances,” the message states. “You see his little nose? It’s getting really shiny.

“Visitors to Edinburgh think it’s a tradition to rub the nose and it will bring good luck.”

Karsten Moerman of City of the Dead Tours has been trying for several years to stop it. She said: “We’ve even put signs on Bobby asking people not to rub the nose, but someone always takes them down.”

Mercat Tours said they discourage tourists from touching any of the city’s statues.

And local Steph Tees, 35 who regularly passes the statue, said: “I think he’s lovely but it’s a shame he is being ruined by this stupid tradition of touching his nose. It’s literally been in the last four or five years that it all of a sudden started – it got fixed and the next morning somebody had rubbed it off again and it’s upsetting and its a waste of money to keep fixing it and folk to keep doing that.

“Why would it bring you luck to rub it? I don’t know where these traditions come from.”

Passing by yesterday, actor John Conboy, who featured in the 2005 movie ‘Greyfriars Bobby’, got behind the campaign by helping to hand a sign around Bobby’s neck.

Edinburgh broadcaster Grant Stott has spent years drawing the public’s attention to Wee Bobby’s plight.

He said: “This all started for me two years ago, when I first started doing it for Radio Forth. I did it as a public service announcement to discourage people from touching Bobby at the weekend, or any other time.”

Edinburgh Council, who took charge of repairing the statue in 2013, supports the campaign.