We recently took one of our longest serving
Helix volunteers for a little site visit, and asked her if she
would write up her experience for the blog. We didn't expect such a
descriptive story, but have loved reading it, and are proud to
share it with you:
One pair of maquettes (wee baby Kelpies) have been
nestled at lock gate 2 for years, almost part of the furniture. But
I still linger a while each time I'm down by.
I couldn't just walk past them, I had to stroke their
muzzle, and cup that chin in my hand. I knew my baby Kelpies would
"grow up" one day, that long nose would be well out of reach.
I've been volunteering with The Helix for over 5 years,
and I've always felt like one of the team. For 3 years, while there
were little more than a few new paths in place, I preached to
full buses packed with locals, waxing lyrical about this amazing
space we were going to have, The Kelpies would tower high above us, you
really had to use your wildest imagination, and everyone did.
As the bus travelled towards the The Kelpies Hub, my nose was pressed
against the glass - 'look, look, the foundations are in!' - I'd
shriek. Two massive concrete lozenges, with over 30 meters of piles
beneath them. It was tantalising to get so close, but never close
Kelpies have evolved from the original mythical concept, into
something far more pertinent. These powerful steel heavy horse
monuments perfectly represent, and encapsulate, our areas spirit
& strength. They are rooted in stone and harness our
Evocative of our industrial past and culture, folks on the Helix
bus tours shared fond memories and family tales of working
horses. The rag & bone man, the heavyweight powerhouses
delivering beer & soft drinks in town, and shifting loads
along the canal side & foundries.
My grandfather worked in the foundry, he manufactured the gates
to Shire Football Park. My brother's a welder & fabricator.
Whether very deep, or tenuous, many local families have a link back
to the foundries. I often find myself in a Flashdance inspired
daydream, donning a welding mask and creating something
I'm drawn, like a magnet, to the strong industrial look of the
Kelpies, as well as their pure as air etherealness. I've taken a
thousand photographs already, we have beautiful fluid light and a
vast sky. Sometimes the steel skin gleams golden, reflecting the
soft dawn and dusk, look again and its blue grey, blending into the
Ochil Hills as the clouds tumble over. The Forth & Clyde canal,
like a mirror, offers you 2 bonus Kelpies - polarised, if you're
lucky to be there on a still day.
I'm there every day.
Watching from the viewing platform across the canal I've seen
every stage of the build so far, I'm captivated.
How lucky we are to have The Kelpies on our doorstep, our new
neigh-bours! (I'll get my coat...)
Breathtaking engineering, imagine how long it must have taken to
work all these hundreds of steel sheets into the perfect pattern to
form their crisp contours, the muscles and curves flawlessly
defined, they are world class, and they are all ours!
"..All alone, I have cried silent tears full of pride, in
a world made of steel, made of stone..."
Today something amazing happened.
I caught up with the Helix team, to be handed steel-toed
wellies, a hard hat and a high-vis vest. I love dressing up, and
donning the kit was exciting in itself, but I knew there was a site
visit involved. We were going to see The Kelpies, not from the
other side of the water, through the metal fence or from the
viewing platform, but up close, we're going to get
Walking towards them, past the foundations for the Visitor
Centre, they look exactly like the computer images, the huge jaw
and head section was attached to the "head up" Kelpie a few days
ago and they are, for the first time, horses.
I brought my camera, and Ben's telling me to take photos, but I
just wanted to look at them, take it all in. They will look
striking, fully clad in their crisp, steel skin, but my goodness,
they look incredible without it. The bare structure is mind
blowing, it's a work of genius.
They are massive, the scale is inconceivable until you are under
them. What I wasn't prepared for was how intricate, delicate and
perfect they are. Standing on the concrete, and looking up, the
angles of the flexing neck and tilted head are remarkable, this
isn't a simple framework, and it's not just a tower.
It's a spiders web, could be a strand of DNA, so carefully
engineered, refined, organic, ethereal and jaw droppingly
I'm feeling dizzy from all the spinning round.
Finally my camera's out. It's a bleak grey day, The Kelpies are
almost white against the dark sky, from a distance they would blend
with the hills, but from down here the contrast is stunning.
All around us are parts of The Kelpies waiting to be hoisted up, and
bolted on, the eyes, ears, and there it is, that lovely muzzle! I
give it a bit of a hug, never in a million years did I think I
would get hold of it. It's the size of a compact car, and will
weigh seven tonnes once it's clad in steel. Just for a second, I
sit cocooned inside an ear.
This day has just further fuelled my obsession, I adore these
epic equines, I'll love them forever. And although I didn't tighten
a bolt, or weld a panel, (...I'm open to offers!) there's an
attachment that's stronger, we're fused together. Forever.
blog comments powered by