The Kelpies

The Kelpies are a pair of monumental steel horse-heads between the Scottish towns of Falkirk and Grangemouth. They stand next to the M9 motorway and form the eastern gateway of the Forth and Clyde Canal, which meets the River Carron here. Each head is 30 metres (98 ft) high.

The sculptures, which represent kelpies, were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. An unveiling ceremony took place in April 2014. Around the sculptures is an area of parkland known as The Helix.

 Kelpies under construction in 2013

The name was chosen by Scottish Canals at the inception of The Helix project in 2005,[1] to reflect the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of ten horses. The Kelpies represent the lineage of the heavy horse of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the wagons, ploughs, barges, and coalships that shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area.[2]

According to sculptor Andy Scott, "The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures."[3] He also said that he "took that concept and moved with it towards a more equine and contemporary response, shifting from any mythological references towards a socio-historical monument intended to celebrate the horse's role in industry and agriculture as well as the obvious association with the canals as tow horses".[3] In 2008 Scott created three-metre-high miniature versions in his Glasgow studio. These were then scanned by lasers to help the steel fabricators create accurate full-scale components.[4]

According to Scott the end result would be "[w]ater-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth and Clyde Canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians".[5]

During the first year following the opening, nearly one million people visited the sculptures.[6]

The first routine maintenance and cleaning was carried out by a high-wire team in the summer of 2017.[7]

^ "The Helix - The story so far". www.thehelix.co.uk. ^ "Foundries helped to shape today's Falkirk". www.falkirkherald.co.uk. ^ a b Sleigh, William (21 April 2015). "The Kelpies". WL Sleigh. Retrieved 3 August 2015. ^ Carrell, Severin (24 November 2008). "Meet the Kelpies, Scotland's giant addition to the UK sculptural skyline". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2013. ^ "From Andy Scott's vision to a stunning reality". TheHelix.co.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2015. ^ "Falkirk's year-old Kelpies set for millionth visitor". BBC News. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015. ^ "High-wire team give Kelpies their first health check". BBC News. 29 May 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
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