The Kelpies – Scotlands new icons?

Having left behind the mist of Aberdeen we headed down the coast and spent the night at the CC site at Glenrothes. A nicest enough site, a bit odd though to have blocks of flats looking down on the pitches at the back, we moved round to the side and had a quiet night with the exception of rain bouncing down through the trees. We couldn’t decided on whether to visit Stirling or head a bit further South for the next couple of days. Whilst scanning Google for what was new to see we came across Helix Park and the Kelpies sculptures by Andy Scott.  It meant driving down to Falkirk but we decided we may as well move South as these sculptures are something I desperately wanted to see, so we headed off first thing and were on Helix Park by 10am.

Very kind man on the carpark opened the barrier and waved us through to the coach park, as close as it gets to the entrance. As soon as we left the van and walked onto the canal bank they were there in all their stainless steel glory, looking over the new extension to the Forth & Clyde Canal. Nothing can prepare you for the sheer scale of these sculptures – both are 100 ft high and they look as if water is running down them (it isn’t its the way the steel is cast).P1060490

They are in a word awesome, the sheer scale and beauty is hard to capture in a photo, there is a turning circle between them for canal boats and it looks tiny but full sized boats were turning whilst we were there. Named Duke and Baron after the Clydesdale horses that were the models you can walk right up to them and we paid an extra £5 to go inside Duke – nearly as amazing to be inside as outside.

Inside a Kelpie

Inside a Kelpie

The tour guide told extensive tales of the mythology of the Kelpie in Scotland and to be fair had a good knowledge of the creation and building of both the canals, the recent canal extension and the horses heads themselves.

Duke & Baron with a canal boat between

Duke & Baron with a canal boat between

This surely will become an iconic image of Scotland. You drive past them on the M9, literally a couple of hundred yards from the road but its so worth going round to see them up close. We didn’t stay long enough to visit the Helix Park properly but with over 350 hectares of parkland, wetland, lakes and newly planted woodlands its somewhere to spend a day at least and its on our list to visit in more detail next time we are here. We can honestly say this is one of the, if not the, most incredible thing we have been lucky enough to visit in the UK. And, on our regular theme of budgets – this is free to visit, no parking charges, no charge to go right up to the sculptures (you only pay to go inside).

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Leaving the Kelpies we decided to head a bit South for the evening, as we headed down the motorway the idea of New England Bay came upon us. We rang and they had space so we pulled over, reset the Sat Nav (realised then it was over 100 miles!) and headed South West. A quick detour to Stranraer for supplies and we are now settled overlooking the sea at the Mull of Galloway. This will be our last stop before we head home so here for a couple of days. The sun is out, the sea is blue and as the song goes there is nothing there to spoil our view. As holidays go we can always rely on Scotland to bring out the most amazing scenery and places to visit, its going to be a hard act to follow but of course we will be aiming high 🙂

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