Driving up the M9 motorway from Edinburgh to Stirling you pass two giant horse-head sculptures near Falkirk. The Kelpies as they are known, are two 30 metre high statues by Glaswegian sculpture Andy Scott. Constructed of structural steel with a stainless steel outer skin, which reflects the light of the day and night, The Kelpies makes for an amazing sight in all weathers, and having passed them a number of times, often in pouring rain, I knew that I wanted to visit them up close.
It was bitterly cold, when I visited, The Helix parkland, The Kelpies emerging from the freezing fog, like something from another mythological world. Indeed the name, The Kelpies reflects mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses; a quality that is analogous with the transformational change and endurance of Scotland’s inland waterways. The Kelpies celebrate the horse’s role in industry and agriculture and 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.
The Kelpies are in The Helix, a new parkland project on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canel and River Carron, which was built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area of Scotland. The sculptures form a gateway to the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde Canal extension and a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.