The Kelpies are 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland. The sculptures were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. The sculptures form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension built as part of The Helix land transformation project. The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.
The sculptures opened to the public in April 2014. As part of the project, they will have their own visitor centre, and sit beside a newly developed canal turning pool and extension. This canal extension reconnects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the River Forth, and improves navigation between the East and West of Scotland.
The form of the structure is based on tenth scale maquettes, two three metre high miniature models built from 9,115 individually cut flat steel plates welded together over a wire frame by the sculptor, Andy Scott. The mosaic effect created by the flow of the plates and the view through the openings capture the horses as if in motion. The challenge was to take these scale models and translate them into an engineered solution, which had the structural strength required, could be suitably detailed for manufacture and transportation, and would stand as a monument for years to come, and yet retain the sculptor’s vision.
Horizon Reinforcing used 10 of their cranes on this project. Before work began the material was transported to the site from Asda Distribution. Over 100 loads were needed using Horizon specialist transportation.
Being part of the construction of the the Kelpies was a real privilege. The team created something which not only we can be proud of, but is a source of pride for the community and a symbol for regeneration for the area. The engineering behind the sculpture was challenging, with many complex issues to resolve, but the finished product is not just a beautiful piece of artwork, it’s a showcase of innovative structural and mechanical engineering.