These two breathtaking sculptures are the centrepiece of Scotland’s 350-hectare parkland The Helix, which lies between Falkirk and Grangemouth in the Forth Valley and opened in September 2013. Construction of the Kelpies began late that year and it took just 90 days for the 30,000 pieces of steel to be painstakingly slotted into place.
I had read about the Kelpies before I went to Scotland but nothing prepares you for the astonishing visual impact when you see them in real life. They are the largest equine sculptures in the world, standing 100 feet tall and weighing more than 300 tonnes each.
The Kelpies were created by Glasgow-born artist Andy Scott (pictured above), who is now based in Philadelphia. The Kelpies represent the heavy work horses that helped shape Scottish industry and their name is taken from a shape-changing water creature of Scottish mythology. (Confusingly, it’s also the name of a breed of dog in Australia, but that’s another story.)
The Helix Visitor Centre is open 7 days a week, 9.30am - 5.00pm and is perfectly located for an excellent view of the Kelpies. The Visitor Centre includes a café, exhibition area and a gift shop offering the usual range of souvenirs and keepsakes but also some limited-edition art works and seasonal goods.
If you want to see inside the sculptures you can take The Kelpies Tour – adult price £6.50, children free.