A plan to create the world’s largest horse sculptures is taking shape in the workshop of one of Scotland’s leading artists.
The 35-meter (114-foot) high “Kelpie” heads are based on the mythical Scots creatures of the same name and are the brainchild of British Waterways and internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Scott.
But the giant heads, each equal in size to the world renowned Falkirk Wheel visitor attraction, would be more than just impressive works of art. The functional sculptures, complete with flowing manes, would form an integral part of an ingenious boat lift mechanism at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, with the two heads slowly rocking back and forth to displace water from a lock chamber thereby allowing boats to move to and from Scotland’s lowland canal network.
Scott is currently creating two one-tenth scale steel maquettes (models), which will be used to help generate support for this ambitious project. The creation of the 3.5-meter (11-foot) high models involves welding thousands of small steel plates over a prepared steel skeleton. The skeleton itself will eventually be removed to leave a steel mosaic.
Andy, whose father hailed from Falkirk, has a long association with equine sculpture, having created the landmark “Heavy Horse” which sits proudly at the side of the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and various other world renowned equine pieces in Australia and Spain.
“Heavy Horse” by Andy Scott Image source
The Kelpie theme was chosen not only for the role of the mythical water horse in waterway folklore but also to pay respect to the role of the heavy horse throughout Scottish history. The theme is made even more poignant by the fact that Falkirk was home to the largest Clydesdale horse in U.K. history.
Andy is currently working night and day in his studio in Maryhill in Glasgow to ensure that the impressive steel maquettes are ready for public display at the end of May.
The heads will form part of a bid to a lottery fund for The HELIX project, an ambitious initiative which could transform the landscape between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a thriving environmental community and tourism asset for Scotland.
Work to create the massive Kelpie heads could begin at the end of the year if the project gets the green light.
To find out more about The HELIX and to get involved visit www.falkirkonline.net/HELIX.