The Kelpies in the Helix Park have been open to the public for over five years now .The project has been very successful , bringing in over one million visitors to the area . For anyone planning to visit Falkirk , the Kelpies are a must see .
The Kelpies are positioned in between the old and the new , the Forth and Clyde Canal on the left and the M9 motorway on right.
They were inspired by the Clydesdale horses that used to pull boats full of freight along canal. In the 19th century , the canals were the motorways of Britain .
Each Kelpie is 50 metres high and made of steel plates welded onto a framework , like armour plating. More than 600 tonnes of steel was used in the construction of the The Kelpies and more than 10,000 special fixtures are used to hold them together.
The two sentinels guard the canal , the first Kelpie looks calm, looking straight ahead and focussed on its load , the second is rearing its head into the sky as if angry or unhappy with its load.
Sculptor Andy Scott has spent 8 years on the project and a couple of times he thought the whole thing was going to be scrapped due to its cost.
The original aim of the project was to transform waste land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a thriving urban greenspace , “The Helix”. This includes a performance area, on which large scale events can be held, facilities for watersports provided by a large lagoon, all surrounded by play areas and high quality pathways. Access around The Helix is provided by 17 miles of cycleways and footpaths.
Questions continue to be raised about the return on investment for the project . The Kelpies have proved themselves a major tourist attraction in the same way the Falkirk Wheel is , but with no visitor centre the fear is visitors may spend little or nothing in the area .Falkirk Council has asked the Falkirk Community trust why a visitor centre was not included in the plans , but the Trust were unable to explain this . There are rumours about concerts being held in the performance area next year , which would bring in revenue to the area just like the recent concerts by Elton John and Rod Stewart across the road at the Falkirk stadium . Callendar Park used to host the Big in Falkirk music and arts festival .
The final element of the Helix is a giant playpark. A set of giant wooden tepee-like structures have been built in the adventure zone.
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