“…When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord
An’ float the jinglin’ icy boord
Then, water-kelpies haunt the foord
By your direction
And ‘nighted trav’llers are allur’d
To their destruction…”
– Robert Burns
“The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies (shape-shifting water spirits), standing 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.” [source]
The Kelpies are 30-metre high sculptures designed by sculptor, Andy Scott. They were built out of 928 unique stainless steel skin-plates, on top of a steel structure, with each head weighing 300 tonnes, with an additional 1200 tonnes of steel-reinforced concrete foundation underneath each head.
Andy Scott was inspired by the local cultural heritage of Clydesdale horses, which were hard-working animals on the local canals and lands surrounding Falkirk. His homage to these majestic animals also touches on one of Scotland’s myths and legends. The Kelpie is a water spirit that usually takes the form of a horse and lures visitors to it’s waterways on to it’s back. Once upon a Kelpies back, you will be stuck to it’s magical hide, and dragged beneath the waters to be eaten by the Kelpie.
I love this malevolent side to the Kelpies as it gives the sculptures an eerie, ethereal quality, and adds a little sense of uneasiness that you cannot easily shake.
Did you know? The Kelpies were based on two Clydesdale horses called Duke and Baron, who now share a name with their models. Baron is the Kelpie with his head held high in the air, and Duke is the Kelpie looking straight ahead.
The Kelpies are stunning, and my words will never do their beauty justice… so, I would highly recommend you to visit them for yourself!
The Kelpies & Helix Park at a glance…
Visitor Centre is open from 09:30 – 17:00 daily
£7.50-£6.50 for a guided tour inside The Kelpies
Address: Visitor Centre, The Helix, Falkirk, FK2 7ZT OR use Google Maps here.
The Visitor Centre has a cafe, gift shop, and accessible toilets, as well as information about all the attractions, and activities available at Helix Park.
This site is fully accessible, and there is disabled parking available.