It was during our holiday to Loch Lomond that Hooves and I made a visit to see The Kelpies in Falkirk, Grangemouth. I was about to say that if your ever find yourself in the Falkirk area then it is worth visiting The Kelpies, but actually in my opinion they are so spectacular that I think it’s worth making the effort to see them where ever you come from. They sit either side of a recently constructed lock on the Forth & Clyde Canal and are the centrepiece of the 740-acre Helix Park, which has been built on reclaimed scrub land between Falkirk and Grangemouth. The Kelpies have quickly become one of Scotland’s most photographed landmarks. (map) They are certainly pretty hard to miss, and you even get a pretty good glimpse of them as you drive along the M9! (streetview)
The Kelpie’s are the world’s largest equine sculptures. Designed by Andy Scott these spectacular pieces of art stand 30 metres tall. They each weigh 300 tonnes, each are clad 928 unique stainless steel skin-plates, and each head stands on 1,200 tonnes of steel-reinforced foundations. The pair were built on site in just 90 days.
The completion of The Kelpies on 27th November 2013, was celebrated with a ‘topping-out’ ceremony. This featured Duke and Baron, who were the Clydesdale life models for The Kelpies. The extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal and The Kelpies Hub turning pool were then filled with water, and opened to boaters on 21st April 2014 – the same day The Kelpies were opened to the public. A year or so later the visitor centre opened, housing an exhibition space, a gift shop and a cafe. It is open from 10:00 to 17:00, seven days a week.
The park offers a guided tour of The Kelpies, but Hoover and I chose to ‘free-style’ our visit: we spent time a few hours wandering around them and along the canal tow paths, soaking our surroundings up before heading off to the nearby Falkirk Wheel, which was next on our day’s itinerary.
The Kelpies car park is open 24/7, however between the hours of 10am – 5pm there is a charge of £2.00 for up to three hours. Outside of these hours there is no charge.
There is loads of green space at the park – ideal for dogs. They are very welcome to run free here, however you are expected to pick up after your dog and to be mindful of other park users when letting them off the lead. They are welcome to go on the Kelpies Tour too, although they are not permitted to enter The Kelpies themselves, or go into the visitor centre. There are very handy clips for dog leads on the picnic tables so you stand a chance of drinking, rather than wearing, your cuppa.
My only regret about visiting The Kelpies?… That I couldn’t stay long enough to see them lit up at night!
For more information about visiting The Kelpies take a look at their website: http://www.thehelix.co.uk/