This is at Falkirk, Fife, in Scotland, continuing with my last year’s trip to that region.
These magnificent structures are called Kelpies. In local Scottish mythology Kelpies are aquatic spirits that can alter their appearance. They are said to haunt rivers and would often be seen in the shape of a horse.
These amazing 30 meters high sculptures, composed of steel plates attached to underlying supporting structures, are situated at a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, in the Helix a Parkland Project connecting 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area. Lottery funding was granted for the sculptures. They were designed by Scottish Sculptor Andy Scott and they are truly awsome!
The scale and complexity of this project required the involvement of consultant and structural engineers and steelwork contractors to finally build these huge and perfectly formed heads, which can be seen from a wide surrounding area.
Very nearby is the Falkirk Wheel, another wonderful invention and awe-inspiring engineering achievement which attracts hordes of visitors. There is of course a visitors centre with a cafe and one can sit in comfort and watch the wheel working through the glass front of the building.
The purpose of this wheel – the only one of its kind in the world, is to lift boats from one canal level to another. It is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. It reconnects the two canals for the first time since the 1930s (when several time consuming locks were involved) and opened in 2002.
The design of the wheel was primarily by the Architect Tony Kettle, who worked with a team of others on the project.
In this photo above, there are boats in both the top and bottom pans – or gondolas – as they are called.
The wheel raises and drops boats by 24 metres (79 ft). The gondolas, in which the boats are sitting, each contain as much water as an olympic swimming pool.
Below I have inserted two videos, one of Andy Scott talking about the Kelpies and the other is describing the working of the Falkirk wheel.
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