Big fun in the shadow of the Kelpies

Silence isn’t always golden – sometimes it can be a steely grey. Anyone who has stood awestruck at the foot of Scotland’s most iconic pieces of public art will testify to that.

There’s something reassuring about the realisation that it doesn’t take big screens, big stars or big bucks to make a big impression with little people – The Kelpies do that all by themselves.

If you’ve stood in the shadow of these imposing equine masterpieces you’ll know just how spellbinding they are.

If you haven’t, you may well be wondering what on earth they are. A classic case of a picture telling the story of 1,000 words, so this post is a brief one – the images do the talking!

Situated on the edge of the central belt town of Falkirk, The Kelpies were unveiled in 2014 to great acclaim. It’s fair to say Scotland has never seen their like before and now, two years on, it is fair to say they’ll never be lonely – people continue to flock to see them in droves.

It took just 90 days to turn the vision of creator Andy Scott into reality, but The Kelpies will still be drawing crowds 90 years from now.

Standing proudly at 30 metres tall, each monument weighs 300 tonnes – an intricate patchwork of almost 1,000 stainless steel plates skilfully crafted together to form two momentous pieces of intriguing art. During the day they glint in the sunshine (yes, Scotland does get some now and again) and at night clever lighting brings a new dimension to a landmark that can be seen from miles around.

They are simply stunning, but there is a back story. Rearing over the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal, the Kelpies provide a nod to the past and the heavy horses which trod the towpaths in years gone by as well as referencing the mythical water horses they take their name from. One looking skyward, the other stooping low. In the words of poet Jim Carruth, whose work can be found etched on site: “Bow down your strong heads to taste the water, stretch up your long necks to face the sun.”

Look away now if you don’t want a spoiler though.

Okay, here goes: They don’t do tricks. Don’t rotate. Don’t make a noise. They are quite simply just a captivating piece of visual magic. Once you get beyond the staring stage, there’s plenty of space to wander beneath them with a visitor centre, food, drink and ice cream all woven into the natural surroundings of the waterway.

The Kelpies are the focal point of The Helix – a meandering 350 hectare area linking 16 local communities between Falkirk and Grangemouth, established with the aim of creating an ecopark to be proud of.

There’s so much to see and do, with the Adventure Zone and Splash Play areas just a short stroll away from The Kelpies and offering a fantastic way to while away some hours. On the great playpark league table, this one is right up there challenging at the top. The Helix Lagoon also offers water sport tuition during school holidays as well as pedalo hire.

The watery theme continues throughout the area, with the Falkirk Wheel – the world’s first rotating boat lift – a short drive away and just as popular as the Kelpies.

And all just a hop and skip from Edinburgh and Glasgow. Suddenly there’s a new mark on Scotland’s tourist map – it’s certainly one not to be missed.

Linking up with #Mondayescapes
the Pigeon Pair and Me
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22 Comments Add yours

  1. We really like the Kelpies, we never make it to the play area though. Our eldest loves seeing them on the motorway too! #MondayEscapes

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    1. WTMluggage says:

      Yes we love a Kelpie spot on the motorway too! Something a wee bit magical about them!

      Like

  2. Ruth says:

    So, it took 90 days to construct them? That is less than what it takes to fix a road around here. They must had an awesome plan to build them up. Would like to stop by one day. #MondayEscapes

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    1. WTMluggage says:

      We really loved them -so fascinating to look at, especially at night time when they light up.

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  3. pc says:

    What a great sharing to learn so much about Kelpies! We visited the Falkirk Wheel and caught the little Kelpies there. While we were impressed with the Wheel, the small equine did triggle our curiosity of the actual piece and the aspiration behind the making. But in the end, due to our planned trip, had to miss the grand Kelpies or Helix. So you are right, that not one of them in Falkirk to be missed. Could be my reason to re-visit Scotland!

    #MondayEscapes

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    1. WTMluggage says:

      The Helix park was great fun -we were really impressed as it catered for all ages, which is a find! We didn’t manage to make the Falkirk Wheel though so that is definitely one for next time!

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  4. Lisa (Travel Loving Family) says:

    I had absolutely no idea why the Kelpies exist! Great to learn something new today. Your photos of the sculptures are superb. Thanks for linking to #MondayEscapes

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tots2travel says:

    Still on our to do list! They appear quite enthralling.
    #culturedkids

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      You should definitely visit , they really are mesmerising.

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  6. I’m dying to visit the Kelpies. The scale of them….they’re so huge, but graceful at the same time. Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      They really are wonderful to look at , just something magical about them!

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  7. Trish @ Mum's Gone To says:

    Oh every time I hear about The Kelpies I wish we had done our homework a few years ago when we visited the Falkirk Wheel as we travelled between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Kelpies had just been unveiled but we didn’t know anything about them at the time – so drove on without seeing them!
    We did see a touring mini version in Kirkcudbright last year but it wasn’t the same. Will just need to go back!
    #culturedkids

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      I know, I don’t know why we didn’t go sooner! You will definitely have to plan a visit!

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  8. Cindy says:

    They look incredible! And impressive that it took only 90 days to construct them. I hope to visit one day! I love the way the lighting looks in the evening, so beautiful. #CultureKids

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      I loved seeing them light up in the evening, it was getting chilly by then but worth the wait!

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  9. I have been wanting to visit the Kelpies for ages but knowing that there are other things to do on the doorstep helps a lot, it means I can justify going all that long way with the whole family for a holiday. I didn’t know it lit up at night! #CulturedKids

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      Yes the Falkirk Wheel is nearby too, The helix park was worth a visit -great playgrounds. We manage to stay until early evening, it was definitely worth it to see them light up.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sol Solntze says:

    The Kepies are my Scottish faliure. Got lost trying to find them, and then the queue for the carpark was just too daunting. Still, we sailed past them on the motorway, so at least I got to see them from afar! Great to find out more about them, and your photos are stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      Thank you , I loved taking pictures of them -I could have stared at them forever! Oh no , sorry to hear you had a difficult time trying to get to see them, an excuse to have another visit!

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  11. Great pictures! #culturedkids

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTMluggage says:

      Thank you -I think it is down to the subjects rather than the photographer ! They are fab to photograph!

      Liked by 1 person

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