Holiday at home: The Kelpies

by Faye Knows Best1st November 2015

I can’t encourage you more to enjoy the wonderous national landmark treasures available to us all here in the UK. I’m a huge supporter of all things British, and want you to get involved with as many as possible of the delights available across our shores.

My fist sight of the Kelpies was an accidental one which literally took my breath away. I was travelling by car at night when the menacing magnificence of the red equine eyes slowly lifted in to my view. It was terrifying and thrilling at the same time. I’d just never seen anything like it. You can’t imagine the size of the spectacle until you see for yourself in the flesh. Once I’d settled with what it was and was certain something hadn’t risen from the depths of the earth to eat me I couldn’t divert my eyes from it. And then it disappeared from view all too soon, and I knew I needed to go back again to find out more.

Night Kelpies with water reflection

The Kelpies is a 30-metre high steel structure placed in Falkirk not too far from Edinburgh. This double horse head is the largest equine sculpture in world and is designed by Andy Scott, a Scottish artist born in Glasgow. Andy has artwork dotted across the globe, and this sculpture is situated in Andy’s father’s home town, so he has a personal connection to the area. The structure is designed on two real life Clydesdale breed horses, which is a heavy draft cart horse with big connections to the area. Historically they would have been used to pull boats along the local canals. The IRL horses the design is based upon are Duke and Baron from Pollock country park.

Duke and Baron

The Kelpies stand next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland, and act as towering gatekeepers of the canal system.

Top lock sign
The title ‘Kelpie’ comes from the mythological water monster. Gaelic folklore tells us about a water sprite in the shape of horse. The story says if you touched the animal you’d be magically stuck to it – it would dive in the water, drown you and eat you. If you were clever however and grabbed its bridle you could gain control of it and take it home.

You can visit the Kelpie site free of charge, and can wander round the base of the horses to gain your own sense of their magnitude.

Close up

Tour:

There is a 45 minute tour available at 2.30pm, which talks you through the concept, design, and construction of these beasts. It costs around £7.00 for adults and £4.00 for children.

With the sisters

There are tour tickets available to buy on the day, or to book tickets in advance visit their website: http://www.thehelix.co.uk/things-to-do/the-kelpies/kelpies-tour/#.VitoRG58ESU

The tour walks you along the canal to the horses, and then allows you inside the shell of one in order to can appreciate the incredible design.

Inside the head

Getting there:

We caught the train to Edinburgh, then changed there for Stirling, and drove from Stirling to Falkirk. The Kelpies are based alongside a busy raod so very easily accessible by car. Car parking is available on site for £2.00. If you need further details for getting there, whether by train car, bus or boat have a look at their website:

http://www.thehelix.co.uk/plan-your-visit/getting-here/#.VitiSm58ESU

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