Tuesday, 11 August 2015

A tour of The Kelpies

kelpies sculptures helix park falkirk

kelpies helix park sculptures falkirk

inside kelpie sculpture helix park falkirk

kelpies tour guide park falkirk

canal lock falkirk helix park

helix park stone wall motto

Tam took me on a surprise outing on Saturday.  Our destination?  The Helix Park in Falkirk, where he'd booked us onto a Kelpie-themed guided tour.  If there's one thing I hate, it's surprises, but on the other hand, I love guided tours, so I was pretty excited when the plan was revealed.  For anyone who hasn't been near Falkirk in the past few years, The Kelpies are a pair of giant horse-head sculptures that loom over the motorway from their base in the newly created Helix Park.  Driving by at night and seeing them lit up is a real treat.  The park sits outside town, next to the football stadium, and is an ongoing project filled with walking trails and various areas of interest.  Honestly, it's always a bit too busy there for my taste but I never miss a chance to get up close to the magnificent Kelpies - not least because they provide a fantastic photo subject!

We joined the tour a few minutes late since we entered the park from the canal side and couldn't find the current visitor centre - it's behind the small hill on the left, for anyone as daft as us.  Luckily we saw a bunch of people crowded around our enthusiastic tour guide, Andy, and figured we were in the right place.  Just like Vic on the Central Station tour, Andy clearly knew his stuff and wasn't afraid to make use of his excellent performance skills to make the story of The Kelpies come alive.  He talked us through what Kelpies actually are (Scottish water spirits) and I gleefully raised my hand when he asked if anyone had ever been one.  All you ex-Brownies out there know what I'm talking about, right?

The tour moved from the path next to the visitor centre, along the canal, past the new work-in-progress visitor centre and stopped right in front of the sculptures themselves.  A short walk in distance, but with a wealth of interesting facts and history shared along the way.  We heard about the area's industrial past and how Kelpie designer Andy Scott was inspired by the horses that worked on the canal there.  Then came the moment we'd all been waiting for - it was time to step inside The Kelpies.  Well, one of them anyway.  They were just as vast in scale on the inside and it was well worth the price of a tour ticket just to get in there and see it from a different viewpoint.  Andy explained how the construction was done and we all got to guess how many steel panels make up each horse.  We all vastly underestimated.  I'm not giving away the answer though, you'll just have to go along and find out for yourselves!

Has anyone been on the tour?  I can't believe I didn't know it was a thing until now.  When I was telling my work buddy about it, she asked if Andy had been our tour guide and went on about how fantastic he was, so maybe you should all go just to meet him!

:)

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