Scotland has a major new cultural landmark, in the shape of the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures, as construction on the £5 million Kelpies structures was completed in late November in Falkirk.
Completion of The Kelpies marks a significant stage in the £43 million Helix project, which is transforming 350 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth, and is funded via a partnership between The Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.
The Kelpies form a dramatic centrepiece to The Helix development, which is expected to attract an additional 350,000 visitors (presumably giant horse lovers or misguided Tolkien fans) and add £1.5 million in annual tourism spend to the area, when it officially opens in 2014.
Standing 30 metres (100ft) tall, they pay homage to the tradition of the working horses of Scotland which used to pull barges along Scotland’s canals and worked in the fields in the area where they now stand.
Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Experts are predicting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. The Kelpies – easily seen from the main M9 motorway and vantage points around Falkirk district – will be a key part of that attraction and look absolutely stunning. I’d like to congratulate artist Andy Scott and all the team involved in their creation.”
DDW Comment: The Kelpies have garnered international coverage by their epic-movie-like scale, suggesting that if you’re going to make a monument with the hope of pulling in tourists, go big, pull out all stops.