Thursday, 22 September 2016

Rhino Hunting on the English Riviera

It's World Rhino Day, which interests my muse since rhinoceroses are probably the closest creature in this world to unicorns, having one large horn on their heads (forget that stumpy one just behind, it's barely a foal's bump). So I've been rhino hunting this month - but don't worry, the only shooting I've been doing is with my camera! Here's one I bagged earlier... 

Spike: Dreaming of the Herd
The Great Big Rhino Trail 2016 is a public art project in Torbay, Exeter and the surrounding area, where 40 life-sized rhinos such as poor lonely 'Spike' dreaming of his herd outside the tourist office are decorated by different artists and sponsored by businesses around South Devon. If you've visited the English Riviera or Exeter this summer, you might already have seen some of them. If not, then there is one of our rhinos at Paddington Station and another at Bristol Temple Meads where you can catch trains to get here (that makes 42). At the end of the summer, the travelling rhinos will return to Paignton Zoo, when the whole collection will be auctioned off in support of endangered real-life rhinos.

It's been good fun cycling around my local area trying to photograph as many of these strange and colourful beasts as I can. Here are some of my favourites so far:

Sir Richard the Rhinoheart stands in a historic spot at Torre Abbey, between Paignton and Torquay:

Sir Richard the Rhinoheart at Torre Abbey

Stardust has definite girl appeal and stands outside the Boathouse cafe at the end of child-friendly Preston sands, where beach huts make the perfect backdrop to her sparkly pink hide:
Stardust... does my bum look big in this?

Lost Time and the Riviera Wheel
Lost Time reflects the Riviera Wheel in the background, shot here on a cloudy but warm September day on Torquay's sea front... bet there's a great view across the bay from the top!

While Rhinosaur shows how closely related rhinoceroses are to dinosaurs, with the addition of a blue reptilian collar and small friend perched on his back in a tropical setting at Living Coasts on Torquay's harbourside.

Rhinosaur (those extra horns are cheating!)

Stella stands guard outside Paignton Zoo, where the Trail starts, sporting star constellations on her glowing blue hide:


Hulk-o-Rhino is ready to dig for victory at Occombe Farm between Preston and Marldon, bursting out of his shorts with green muscles and the addition of a spiky punk hairdo.


The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly brings a playful note to Union Street Shopping Centre in Torquay, with all the animals of the famous rhyme chasing one another around her old-lady costume.


Finally, for those with a sweet tooth, here are two rhinos I think should have swapped places... Big Sweetie can be found outside the English Riviera International Conference Centre (where the auction will take place) while Oh I do Like to Be Beside the Seaside lurks hopefully outside what must be the sweetest candy shop in Paignton:

Oh I do like to be Beside the Seaside

    More colourful rhinos to come!
Big Sweetie


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