The Kelpies

Day 6 of our Scottish adventure and the 1st day of August takes us to Falkirk.

We visited ‘The Kelpies’ in Helix park. They are apparently the world’s largest equine structures. These steel sculptures stand 30 metres high and weigh 300 tonnes each. They were designed by sculptor Andy Scott. His borrowed the name of The Kelpies, from the Celtic mythical creatures in Scottish folklore. A Kelpie was originally a name given to a ‘Water Horse’. This supernatural entity could be found in the lochs and rivers of Scotland. The description of their appearance can vary in different tales. Sometimes white with smooth cold skin, or black and grey. In some stories they are described as ‘shape shifters’. They are able to transfer themselves into beautiful women who can lure men and trap them. However, the Kelpie does not always take a female form and are mostly male. They are also described as posing a particular danger to children when in the shape of a horse. Attracting their victims to ride them they are taken under the water and then eaten! Andy Scott’s vision is that the horse represent both the past, present and future of Scotland.

During the conceptual stages, I visualised The Kelpies as monuments to the horse and a paean to the lost industries of the Falkirk area and of Scotland.

I see The Kelpies as a personification of local and national equine history, of the lost industries of Scotland. I also envisage them as a symbol of modern Scotland – proud and majestic, of the people and the land. They are the culmination of cutting edge technology and hand crafted artisanship, created by our country’s leading experts through international partnerships.

They will elevate Falkirk and Grangemouth to national and international prominence and foster a sense of pride and ownership. As a canal structure they will partner the iconic Falkirk Wheel, and echo its grandeur. They stand testament to the achievements of the past, a tribute to artisanship and engineering and a proud declaration of intent for the future of Scotland.

The construction was completed in October 2013 and the sculptures were opened for public access from April 2014

They are indeed magnificent.

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