What breed of horse are the Kelpies?

The Kelpies in Evening Light
The Kelpies in Evening Light


On 5 July 2017 the Queen formally opened Scotland’s newest section of canal, the Queen Elizabeth II Canal. This resulted in
the last component of the Millennium Connection, an £80 million project that restored central Scotland’s
inland waterways to full use after over half a century of abandonment. The project’s highlights were the
the famed Falkirk Wheel, which was also inaugurated by the Queen,
in May 2002. Until the building of the length of new canal, which takes eastern end of the Forth and Clyde Canal to
Grangemouth was its original starting/ending point, and boats
The canal was entered or exited by a loch connecting a canal basin with the River Carron, under the shadow of the
The M9 highway. The new length of canal gives the whole project a rather more fitting gateway.

This page, however, has the title “The Kelpies”. Why begin by talking about Scottish canals? The Kelpies’
are two spectacular 30m high steel horses’ heads that were erected in 2013 and formerly stood near the canal basin.
forming the end of the Forth and Clyde Canal, and beside the M9 motorway. They were built in 2013 and have since grown popular.
Since their construction on a location near the A1 in Tyneside in 1998, they have become as famous in their own right as the Angel of the North.

The Kelpies form a beautiful and highly visible focal point for a number of different projects and initiatives. We’ve
already referred to their role in helping conclude the Millennium Link. They are also crucial to “The Helix”. This is the case.
£43 million redevelopment of 350 hectares (or over 850 acres) of wasteland between
Falkirk and Grangemouth into
a large outdoor leisure area (Continues below image…)

The Kelpies in Summer
The Kelpies in Summer


When we initially attempted to locate the canal basin in 2003, we realized that access was restricted.
via a short stretch of inconspicuous single-track road from an industrial development at Junction 6 on the M6
M9. Boats and canals are always appealing, but the concept that this post-industrial environment may be transformed is intriguing.
It seemed improbable that it could be transformed into something of genuine communal value: even less likely that it could
could become so popular that parking could be an issue at busy times. It
That only goes to show what can be accomplished with vision and devotion, as well as a lot of well-spent Lottery money.

The position of the Helix and the Kelpies is now properly marked.
from any approach into Falkirk, and access is
from an A9 roundabout as the motorway skirts around the northern
side of town. The access road least you past a parking area for Helix
Park children’s playpark and boating lake, then to the park’s heart.
There is a good approach to the Kelpies from the main parking lot.
along a walkway that goes for many hundred yards beside the Forth and
Clyde Canal.

It demonstrates how effective the Kelpies have been in attracting visitors to the region.
now boasts an impressive visitor centre and a range of other facilities. The tourist center has merchandise for sale.
tickets for guided tours (including an inside look at one of the Kelpies) and a store
as well as a gallery. The highlight of the exhibition area is a series of same-scale models of
important tourist spots across the globe demonstrating how the Kelpies compare in terms of relative height.
There are also several nicely-built Lego replicas of the Kelpies on display, as well as the option
to allow young visitors to explore their own creative potential using Lego.

The tourist center has its own café, and there is also the “Artisan Grill” between the two buildings.
It, as well as the Kelpies themselves, provide anything from cooked cuisine to ice cream; while at the Kelpies
The “Horsebox” near the site’s northern end provides a third option for eating and drinking.

When the Kelpies were initially built, the surrounding environment was beautiful.
raw and there were no facilities for non-boating visitors. During that time,
The presence of the M9 Motorway, although well-screened, to the east of the
A line of pylons and high tension electricity seemed to be obtrusive at the location.
cables to the west. Once the area had a chance to settle in and the grass
to grow, these seemed to fade much more into the background. Visit during the summer
day, it’s easy to understand why the Kelpies and Helix have become so famous.
with both locals and tourists from far away.

The Kelpies’ tale started in 2006, when British Waterways was seeking for a new location.
for a way to make a landmark statement. The concept of horses arose from the traditional function of horses.
played a role in hauling canal boats back when canals were vital to the establishment of industries in central
Scotland. The name came from the mythical Scottish water creature that was said to be able to take the form
of a horse. The artist chosen was Andy Scott, a man with a proven track record in large sculptures, often of horses.

The two Kelpies were modelled on two real horses. The titles Duke and Baron
Glasgow City Council employs Clydesdale horses to convey guests.
and items in the Pollok County Park area. Duke became the model for the “head-down” Kelpie,
while the slightly larger Baron modelled for the “head-up” Kelpie. Clydesdales
were the kind of horse often employed on canals, therefore it is fitting that two
of the breed formed the basis for the Kelpies. The first time the Kelpies appeared
were carried out in three dimensions was in 2007, when two 1:10 scale “maquettes” were
constructed. These were displayed on site, and also went on tour, appearing far afield as in New York.

The Kelpies you see today were constructed during 2013. The facts and figures
are very remarkable. The finished Kelpies are 30m high, and consumed 150
lorry-loads of stuff. They comprise a tubular steel skeleton, covered
by 928 individually shaped stainless steel plates (over the two heads). Each
Each Kelpie weights 300 tonnes and is supported by steel-reinforced concrete foundations.
weighing 1,200 tonnes. They cost £5m to build, and the result is the largest
The biggest public artwork in Scotland and the largest equestrian artwork in the world.

1:10 Scale Maquettes on Site in May 2011
1:10 Scale Maquettes on Site in May 2011


Related Questions

  • What are The Kelpies made from?

    The Kelpies, which tower over the Forth & Clyde Canal, are a marvel of engineering, each created with 300 tonnes of structural steel, and are a gigantic testament to the horse power history that was important to central Scotland’s early industries.

  • What are kelpie weaknesses?

    Weaknesses. Kelpies are weak to the same things that the rest of the fay are weak to, however, there are other weaknesses that are unique to the kelpie. Bridle/chains: Kelpies may be tamed by putting a bridle on them in horse form or chaining them in human form.

  • What is inside The Kelpies?

    The Kelpies lie in the centre of Helix Park, a 350-hectare recreational green area that contains a Visitor Centre with a café, souvenir shop, and exhibition space, an adventure play park, splash play fountains, a lagoon, and miles of cycling lanes.

  • Is a kelpie a water horse?

    The phrase “water horse” was originally used to the kelpie, a creature related to the hippocamp that has a horse’s head, neck, and mane, horse-like front legs, webbed feet, and a long, two-lobed, whale-like tail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *