Horse heads welcome sailors to Scotland: Andy Scott's giant sculpture group
Horse heads welcome sailors to Scotland: Andy Scott's giant sculpture group
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The Kelpies by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott

After seven long years, the Kelpies, two colossal horse heads designed by sculptor Andy Scott, now tower over the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk, Scotland. The 30-meter sculptures are intended as a reminder of the important role of horses in the history of Scotland.

Two sculptures as high as a ten-story building each will become a visual dominant for the Helix Eco-Park - almost three hundred hectares of forest, walking trails and bike paths near Edinburgh.

The sculptures are named "Kelpies" in honor of the mythical water spirits that live in Scottish rivers and mountain lakes. According to legend, Kelpies are capable of transforming into different animals and into humans, but, more often than not, they take the guise of a black horse, which is stronger than ten ordinary horses.

Two sculptures over 30 meters high will become the visual dominant of the Helix Eco-Park (The Helix project)

The 400-ton Kelpies are constructed of metal structures covered with stainless steel, slightly reminiscent of medieval armor plates in texture. One of them neighs, tensely arching a long neck, the second - relaxedly looks in front of him through half-closed eyelids.

The sculptures are named "Kelpies" in honor of the mythical water spirits that live in Scottish rivers and mountain lakes

During the development phase of the project, Andy Scott sketched two real Cleydesdale trucks brought to his workshop from Glasgow. According to the sculptor, these horses can serve as a symbol of Glasgow's painful transformation from a place largely driven by heavy and manufacturing industries to a city primarily famous for its garden festivals, holiday fairs and developed infrastructure. “Glasgow was once a workhorse, but now it’s just a sleek racing stallion,” Scott develops the metaphor.

Scott sketched with two real Cleydesdale heavy trucks

The Kelpie is often compared to the famous "Angel of the North" by Anthony Gormley, another gigantic sculpture in Gateshead, but unlike the more modest English predecessor, Scott's sculptural composition will not only delight the eyes of tourists and locals, but also have a practical function, accepting participation in the operation of one of the shipping locks of the Fort Clyde Canal.

"Angel of the North" by Anthony Gormley Kelpies salute ships as they approach Scotland

“When sailing from Europe or any other part of the UK, the first thing that will be seen as you approach the shore is two colossal horse heads welcoming you to Scotland,” says the sculptor.

By the way, Kelpy Scott is very reminiscent of the smaller-scale, but no less interesting sculptors by Nick Fiddiana-Green.

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