Places to Visit in Scotland
- The Kelpies, Falkirk
Sculptor Andy Scott creates large-scale public works of art and the Kelpies were inspired by a combination of the Clydesdale horse used for heavy work and the Scots name given to a mythological water spirit inhabiting the lochs and pools of Scotland. It has usually been described as appearing as a horse, but is also able to change shape and adopt human form.
. The "models" for the art work were two Clydesdales that worked at Pollok Country Park - Baron and Duke. Clydesdale horses were also a major feature of the nearby canal system, pulling boats along from the tow path. Andy Scott initially created smaller 1:10 scale models known as "Maquettes" (or even Kelpie Foals). These were exhibited at the Falkirk Wheel.
The full scale sculptures are 30 metres (98 feet) high and uses a tubular steel skeleton and 928 stainless steel plates. Each of the 928 individual plates are unique to create the curved appearance. It took 90 days to put it together on the site near Falkirk and cost £5 million to build. The Kelpies are the largest equine sculptures in the world and the largest public artworks in Scotland.
The Kelpies are located on the edge of Falkirk, between that town and Grangemouth, beside the Union canal. The Helix site covers 865 acres and will be a local wild-life park with a lagoon for water sports.
The Forth and Clyde canal system between the Clyde at Glasgow and the Firth of Forth was modernised and brought into use again a few years ago. Pleasure boats now use the waterway on a regular basis and there are commercial boat trips along the canal, especially from the Falkirk Wheel.
The Union Canal extension runs from Falkirk to Edinburgh, constructed to bring minerals, especially coal, to the capital. It was opened in 1822 but was officially closed in 1965. It was re-opened in 2001 as part of the Millennium Link, and reconnected to the Forth and Clyde Canal in 2002 by the Falkirk Wheel which lifts canal boats from the Firth and Clyde Canal 35m (115ft) to the level of the Union Canal via unique system of gears and a rotating boat lift.
The illustration here is the Kelpie visitor centre which provides a cafe and shop and a small exhibition space.
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