I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure

The Kelpies


A kelpie, in Scottish folklore, is a mischievous water sprite which lives in a loch, or pool, and takes the form of a horse.  It can transform into other shapes, including human, and is said to have the strength of a hundred horses.  This creature was used as the inspiration for a new work by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott (whose sculptures I have written about before here and here) and which stands in Falkirk, by the side of the Forth and Clyde Canal, just where it meets the River Carron.  The area is a newly created ecopark, the Helix, built to regenerate under-used land between Falkirk and Grangemouth.

Kelpies 1

Scott used the heavy horse (Clydesdale and Shire) as his inspiration because of their role in the progress of modern society and because they used to pull the barges along the canal beside which the scuptures now stand.  He used two Clydesdale horses as live models – Duke and Baron.


Scott says “The Kelpies stand testament to the achievements of the past, to craftmanship, engineering and skill.  The materials of the sculptures are deliberately those of Scotland’s former industrial heartland, steel construction on an architectural scale: equitecture.”

They are magnificent, stunning and amazing (and many other adjectives too) as they tower over the people and command the countryside. You really have to be up beside them to appreciate their scale fully: I was expecting them to be big, but not this big!  They are currently, at 30 metres high (just under 100 feet), the largest equine sculptures in the world.


6 thoughts on “The Kelpies

  1. I love the Kelpies. I thought it was interesting that he used such big chunky horses as models though. I understand the link – they worked the canal. But to me, the idea of a kelpie is sprite-like and wispy. So in a horse, it would be a slender, skittish, wild horse, not a plodding carthorse. And in fact, I don’t think the sculptures do look very Clydesdaley – their faces are way too narrow and tapering, and not blocky like a Clydesdale. You can see that very clearly in this nicely illustrated blog post.

    But I love them nevertheless.

  2. Great shots. Wanted to see them last year on a brief trip to Scotland but ran out of time 😦

  3. They really are amazing. So very interesting.

  4. They must be fantastic to see close up. What amazing work.

  5. Pingback: weekly photo challenge: eye spy | I used to be indecisive...

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