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The Horses of The Helix
If you drive along the Mp heading towards Stirling then there is a good chance that you will see the magnificent sculptures that are the Kelpies. For many years the 30-metre-high sculptures were a visual treat as the car headed up to the Highlands. It was a location that you always wanted to visit but somehow never managed to set as a destination. That was until last year when an opportunity to visit finally meant I could visit those two magnificent horses.
The Kelpies are horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies, located between Falkirk and Grangemouth in a 350-hectare eco park known as the Helix, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Kelpies pay homage to 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. if that isn’t impressive enough then the Kelpies are also the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures.
Beyond celebrating the working horses of the canals the Kelpies also provide an excellent monument to Scotland’s industrial past. Unlike many other historically important sites and events, industrial heritage tends to be a poor relation in comparison. Former industrial sites are usually celebrated in a far less creative way or more often than not, not celebrated at all. We need more sculptures like The Kelpies to help celebrate the industrial past so that it isn’t forgotten.
The industrial landscape has rarely been a thing of beauty, though there are occasional exceptions. As a child, I would always love the home journey after visiting my grandparents as I’d get to see the mass illumination of lights across the chemical plants of Seal Sands on Teesside. It was no wonder that director Ridley Scott, who lived near Teesside as a child, used that landscape as an influence for his 1982 film Bladerunner.
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