From Andy Scott's vision to a stunning
The history of The Kelpies
Chosen by Scottish Canals at the inception of the project, The
Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts
possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses; a quality that
is analogous with the transformational change of our landscapes,
endurance of our inland waterways and the strength of our
Andy Scott's vision for The Kelpies follows the lineage of the
heavy horse of industry and economy, pulling the wagons and
ploughs, barges and coalships that shaped the structural layout of
the area. Retaining The Kelpies as the title for these equine
monuments, Andy sought to represent the transformational and
sustainably enduring qualities The Helix stands for through the
majesty of The Kelpies.
"The artistic intent (of the Kelpies) is built around a contemporary sculptural monument. Water-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth & Clyde canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians."
Andy Scott, Sculptor
Through artistic evolution and engineering design, The Kelpies
sculptures evolved to fulfil the promise of the original concept.
In Andy Scott's own words:
"During the conceptual stages, I visualised the Kelpies as
monuments to the horse and a paean to the lost industries of the
Falkirk area and of Scotland."
"The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid
starting point for the artistic development of the structures, but
from the original sketches of 2006 I deliberately styled the
sculptures as heavy horses. In early proposal documents I referred
to Clydesdales, Shires and Percherons, of the fabled equus
magnus of the northern countries.
"I wrote of working horses. Of their role in the progress of
modern society, as the powerhouses of the early industrial
revolution, the tractors of early agriculture and of course, the
first source of locomotion for barges on the Forth & Clyde
canal, which The Kelpies now inhabit.
"Falkirk was my father's home town and that inherited
association to the town has been one of my driving inspirations. A
sense of deep personal legacy has informed my thinking from the
outset, with old family connections anchoring me to the
"The Clydesdale horse Carnera once pulled the wagon for local
soft drinks company A.G. Barr in the 1930's. Carnera was the
biggest working horse in the world apparently, standing over 19
hands high. Pulling three-ton wagons full of soft drinks famously
Made in Scotland. From Girders."
"I see The Kelpies as a personification of local and national
equine history, of the lost industries of Scotland. I also envisage
them as a symbol of modern Scotland - proud and majestic, of the
people and the land. They are the culmination of cutting edge
technology and hand crafted artisanship, created by our country's
leading experts through international partnerships.
"They will elevate Falkirk and Grangemouth to national and
international prominence and foster a sense of pride and ownership.
As a canal structure they will partner the iconic Falkirk Wheel,
and echo its grandeur. They stand testament to the achievements of
the past, a tribute to artisanship and engineering and a proud
declaration of intent for the future of Scotland."