The Kelpies canal horses sculptures.
The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies (shape-shifting water spirits), standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland. The sculptures were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. The sculptures form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension built as part of The Helix land transformation project. The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.
The sculptures were opened to the public in October 2013 . As part of the project, they will have their own visitor centre, and sit beside a newly developed canal turning pool and extension. This canal extension reconnects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the River Forth, and improves navigation between the East and West of Scotland. According to sculptor Andy Scott, "The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures." He also said that he “took that concept and moved with it towards a more equine and contemporary response, shifting from any mythological references towards a socio-historical monument intended to celebrate the horse’s role in industry and agriculture as well as the obvious association with the canals as tow horses”. In 2008 Scott created three-metre-high miniature versions in his Glasgow studio. These were then scanned by lasers to help the steel fabricators create accurate full-scale components.
According to Scott the end result would be "Water-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth and Clyde Canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians".
During the first year following the opening, nearly one million people visited the sculptures.