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History

From Andy Scott's vision to a stunning reality.

The history of The Kelpies

Chosen by Scottish Canals at the inception of the project, The Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses; a quality that is analogous with the transformational change of our landscapes, endurance of our inland waterways and the strength of our communities. 

Andy Scott's vision for The Kelpies follows the lineage of the heavy horse of industry and economy, pulling the wagons and ploughs, barges and coalships that shaped the structural layout of the area. Retaining The Kelpies as the title for these equine monuments, Andy sought to represent the transformational and sustainably enduring qualities The Helix stands for through the majesty of The Kelpies.

"The artistic intent (of the Kelpies) is built around a contemporary sculptural monument. Water-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth & Clyde canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians." Andy Scott, Sculptor

Inspired

Through artistic evolution and engineering design, The Kelpies sculptures evolved to fulfil the promise of the original concept. In Andy Scott's own words:

"During the conceptual stages, I visualised the Kelpies as monuments to the horse and a paean to the lost industries of the Falkirk area and of Scotland."

"The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures, but from the original sketches of 2006 I deliberately styled the sculptures as heavy horses. In early proposal documents I referred to Clydesdales, Shires and Percherons, of the fabled equus magnus of the northern countries.

"I wrote of working horses. Of their role in the progress of modern society, as the powerhouses of the early industrial revolution, the tractors of early agriculture and of course, the first source of locomotion for barges on the Forth & Clyde canal, which The Kelpies now inhabit.

"Falkirk was my father's home town and that inherited association to the town has been one of my driving inspirations. A sense of deep personal legacy has informed my thinking from the outset, with old family connections anchoring me to the project." 

"The Clydesdale horse Carnera once pulled the wagon for local soft drinks company A.G. Barr in the 1930's. Carnera was the biggest working horse in the world apparently, standing over 19 hands high. Pulling three-ton wagons full of soft drinks famously Made in Scotland. From Girders."

From Steel

"I see The Kelpies as a personification of local and national equine history, of the lost industries of Scotland. I also envisage them as a symbol of modern Scotland - proud and majestic, of the people and the land. They are the culmination of cutting edge technology and hand crafted artisanship, created by our country's leading experts through international partnerships.

"They will elevate Falkirk and Grangemouth to national and international prominence and foster a sense of pride and ownership. As a canal structure they will partner the iconic Falkirk Wheel, and echo its grandeur. They stand testament to the achievements of the past, a tribute to artisanship and engineering and a proud declaration of intent for the future of Scotland."

 

 

Kelpies fact:

Each of The Kelpies stands up to 30 metres tall and each one weighs over 300 tonnes.