A Grand Day Out
August 12, 2013 2:08 PM   Subscribe

One of this summer's most popular holiday activities in Bristol is Gromit Unleashed, the Gromit Trail. Wallace and Gromit were created by Nic Park for his graduation film A Grand Day Out from The National Film and Television School. He completed the film after joining Aardman Animations - they took him on before he finished the piece, allowing him to work on it part-time while still being funded by the school. Ever since then, Wallace and Gromit have continued their adventures, and Aardman have continued to document them. Wallace is a Yorkshireman (he was going to be a Lancastrian but the actor who voiced him could only do Yorkshire) who loves Wensleydale cheese, Gromit is his dog. Wallace is a dreamer, a creator of fabulous inventions, Gromit (though mute) his down-to-earth and capable rescuing sidekick. The Gromit Trail is a series of 80 model Gromits placed in and around Bristol, and the activity is to try and see them all. There's a map, toys, model Gromits and an auction at the end, in aid of Bristol Children's Hospital.

Some photos.The smaller Gromits are the school ones. I swear when I visited the website yesterday there was a photo of every single Gromit sited but that's no longer the case, who knows why - maybe people didn't like being able to see the ones they hadn't found yet. I reckon in a day you could do 20-25 before completely tiring yourself out. Less if you treat it as the kids' activity it's being marketed as - the kids will flag - but on the Gromit hunt you keep meeting adults who are completely charmed, doing it sans offspring.

Part of the charm of these figures: the punning and the little jokey details become more evident when you get up close to them.

Plus, as a way of getting to know the city better, it's cracking. Well done that canny tourist board!

Aardman have a nice relationship to the city. By all accounts it's a nice place to work. The art college, part of the University of the West of England, used to run diploma courses in 'claymation', stop-motion animation with clay models, although I'm not sure of the situation now: that specificity appears to no longer be the case. Every Christmas the BBC (Bristol branch) is bound to show one or other of their feature films, The Curse of the Were Rabbit, Chicken Run, or The Wrong Trousers. (And The Wrong Trousers are particularly memorable for inspiring the-wrong-trousers-based fundraising.)

On preview, honestly, I don't work for any of these people. Someone took me on the Gromit Trail as a treat - I surprised myself by enjoying it a lot. There have been similar projects in Bristol before - there were gorilla sculptures, and I think lion sculptures, but the Gromits, as they are local and connected to a respected local firm, seem more.....local, I guess. More typical, more homey.
posted by glasseyes (26 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

Made Oi larfff you did! Aaarrggggh!
*clears throat*
*makes off in a shifty manner, looking behind me*

*removes Marigold from bonce when round the corner*

*Caarrn't leave well alone*
posted by glasseyes at 2:26 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, W&G introduced me to Wensleydale. As an American, I'd never heard of such a thing. A cheesemonger of my acquaintance ordered some for her shop to satisfy my curiosity.

Oh my. Oh, my. Wensleydale's not just a funny-sounding name. It's a damn fine cheese. Try it if you can. For some reason, many wheels are contaminated -- yes, contaminated -- with cranberries. Egad. Get the berry-free version. Delightful stuff.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 2:29 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

As far as cheese is concerned, berry-free is preferred.

(My daughter laughed at me when I wanted to buy American cheese from Publix to take home to Blighty *sadface*)
posted by glasseyes at 2:32 PM on August 12, 2013

I want to cash out my 401(k) and spend unwise sums of money to fly across the Atlantic just to do this thing.

posted by shiu mai baby at 2:48 PM on August 12, 2013 [9 favorites]

Everything's under control.
posted by tommasz at 2:49 PM on August 12, 2013

Oh wow, I had no idea Aardman existed before/separately from Nick Park. I just assumed it was basically built around him.
posted by kmz at 2:52 PM on August 12, 2013

I dread the day Peter Sallis leaves us...
posted by jim in austin at 3:26 PM on August 12, 2013

Who be's he?

Ah, thank you Mr. Google - the voice of Wallace. I knew that.

There's some nice old telly, isn't there? Clangers. The Herbs. Bagpuss, already famous. Rosie and Jim. Button Moon. To heck with links. Rhubarb and Custard. Crystal Tipps and Alistair.

Bloody classics that there Tellytubbies and Night Garden, in'em? *no irony*
posted by glasseyes at 3:53 PM on August 12, 2013

"Cracking good job, Gromit glasseyes!"
posted by BlueHorse at 4:31 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I really wanted to link to the Kraken Gromit but it's not on the website anymore!
posted by glasseyes at 4:47 PM on August 12, 2013

I love them. But I may love equally that robot security fellow on the moon, and I wish he'd get his own/another episode.
posted by Glinn at 5:25 PM on August 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you mean Wallace? He's had loads of episodes!

god I should be in bed now. Too much beer for grandma.
posted by glasseyes at 5:29 PM on August 12, 2013

Must hit lotto. Nowish.
posted by tilde at 7:42 PM on August 12, 2013

Sidekick? I'm pretty sure Gromit is the brains of the outfit.
posted by arcticseal at 8:10 PM on August 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love these. I would love them more if some of them weren't placed strategically in the way of things like railway station entrances, near pedestrian crossings of roads, and near pathway bottlenecks. I've seen one that pretty much requires standing in the road to get a photo. For something designed to attract lots and lots of people, I can only imagine the locations were chosen by that dude who takes one step off an escalator and just stands there.
posted by you must supply a verb at 2:15 AM on August 13, 2013

There's also one at Paddington station
posted by PaddyJames at 2:36 AM on August 13, 2013

I like Wallace and Gromit, and wish I could go to Bristol and see some of these. Even if the nefarious Feathers McGraw is still a danger to the public.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 3:16 AM on August 13, 2013

Feathers McGraw is currently menacing John Lewis' jewelry department, he'll be there till Thursday.
posted by Ness at 4:04 AM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yay! As if I needed another reason to love Bristol.
posted by Mistress at 5:27 AM on August 13, 2013

Ah you've got some lovely Gromit photos there, Ness.

The Bristol Post has them, I should have thought to look there. It's Kraken, Gromit is no. 120 of 147.
posted by glasseyes at 6:08 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ah cant take the credit for the pics, not mine!
posted by Ness at 6:16 AM on August 13, 2013

My parents just rented a couple of flats for my siblings and their families to come and holiday in last week in Bristol, and it turns out the logistics of lots of families spending lots of time together means there isn't really time to spend Gromit searching. I have seen a couple though, and had a lovely time eating my brunch outside (the beautifully named) Yurt Lush and watching everyone photograph their Gromit.

That said, I think it'd be awesome to go Gromit hunting with MeFites. Should I post an IRL event?
posted by ambrosen at 8:33 AM on August 13, 2013

posted by you must supply a verb at 10:37 AM on August 13, 2013

If I can just explain the pun, 'Gurt Lush' is Bristolian for 'that's very lovely and delicious.' So, Yurt Lush, same in a big tent.
posted by glasseyes at 2:41 PM on August 13, 2013

Do you mean Wallace?

Heck no (if that was directed at me). I mean this fellow!
posted by Glinn at 7:13 PM on August 13, 2013

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