One day, before returning home from Stirling, I took a short trip to see the famous Scottish Kelpies, near the town of Falkirk. The place was majestic, quiet and absolutely impressive. The air was crisp and the area was enchanting.
But, what are Kelpies?
At first look, the Kelpies seem just two large horse sculptures made of medal.
If from the pictures the sculptures look like two cute and cuddly white horses, in our Scottish tradition, the Kelpies are actually evil spirits belonging to the Celtic folklore.
According to the legends in fact, these aquatic demons would haunt many lakes and rivers of Scotland and would be shapeless. The Kelpies had magical powers and they could indeed change their appearance and turn into a human, a plant or an animal if they wished to.
Their aim would be to deceive and "seduce" unlucky and unsuspecting travellers in order to lead them towards a terrible fate...joining them on the bottom of the lake.
When you think of Scotland and monsters, people immediately think about Nessie, the Loch Ness’ monster, but many are the legends around Scottish lakes and Celtic mythology.
When the Kelpies take on the appearance of horses it seems that, once a man climbed on their back, it would be impossible to get off them: the victims would then remain “glued” to the back of the Kelpie, and such grip would be so strong not to allow anyone to escape.
The horse-like creature would then sink into the waters of the lake and the evil beast would devour the unfortunate.
Near Falkirk, less than an hour's drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, you will find these two huge sculptures representing the legendary Kelpies.
The monument was designed by sculptor Andy Scott and it was first inaugurated in 2014.
The two stainless steel heads stand on the Forth & Clyde canal in Falkirk, Scotland and, although they represent a Celtic legendary creature, they were also created to be a symbol of Scottish industrial and economic power. In fact, Scott wanted to give them the appearance of two true Scottish Clydesdales to represent power and elegance. Power as a symbol of Scottish industry and economy, elegance like that of the Clydesdales, the purebreds of the northern lands. The Clydesdales represent the lineage of the heavy Scottish horses which, by pulling carts and ploughs have shaped the geography of the Falkirk area.
The sculptures were modelled on two real Clydesdales horses brought here from Glasgow and the sculptures were built with a stainless-steel coating.
The creations can be visited from the inside although they are more impressive from the outside, standing right at the bottom of them.
The two majestic statues hold a world record, being the largest horse sculptures in the world with their 30 meters in height and with their 600 tons weigh! The sculptures are located in Helix Park, just opposite the lake but I was careful not get too close to the water…you never know!
While in the area, it’s also possible to drive up to the Falkirk wheel which, with its 35 meters of height, is the only rotary hydraulic lift in the world, connecting the Forth and Clyde canal to the Union Canal.
Before this wonder was built, there were as many as 11 locks to be climbed over, later dismantled in the 30s.
At night, the Kelpies come to life thanks to a clever lighting and give the best of themselves or so I heard because I haven’t had the chance to see them after dark.