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Flashback Friday: Falkirk Kelpies

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

The Kelpies are these two gigantic (30m) horse head sculptures that are part of The Helix, a heavily-used community park in Falkirk Scotland. The large park includes amazing statues, scenic canal tow paths, national cycle routes, and adventure play areas with water and climbing activities. There were several cafés and snack kiosks, too.

The Kelpies are a legend that has been part of Scottish folklore for centuries. Kelpies are shape-shifting malevolent spirits that live inside the rivers, lochs, and streams of Scotland.

Parents will warn their children of the Kelpies as a way to keep them from going near rivers and lochs. The most famous of all the Kelpies is the Loch Ness Monster.

Some stories tell of Kelpies that lure folks into the water and are blamed for all drownings that happen. Kelpies are also responsible for floods and mudslides and other troubles associated with canal life. It is said that Kelpies can shape-shift into human form to appear as beautiful men and women. Parents use the Kelpies to warn children of men and women that lead them astray. All is not bad news, however. A Kelpie can be caught and banished by slipping a halter stamped with the sign of a cross over their heads. So, you might want to bring one with you when you visit for protection. Just in case.

These Kelpies were designed and built by Glasgow sculptor Andy Scott in 2013. He said that despite the name, The Kelpies were built as a monument and tribute to the heritage of working horses in Scotland. In earlier days horses were used to pull barges down the canal routes for shipping. The design is intended to look like the horse is at work with most of his body beneath the water surface.

It would be well worth a return visit after dark to see the Kelpies lit up. The colours shift between several different shades and are sometimes set for particular colour combinations.

The Kelpies themselves are spectacular and deserving of a visit but the entire Helix recreational area is quite marvellous and will easily provide enjoyable activities and trails for everyone.


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