They look very familiar – but just a bit smaller than their Forth and Clyde Canal counterparts.
Scale models of the Kelpies, the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures, have arrived in Argyll for the summer.
The 10ft maquettes – a tenth of the size of the real ones – have been installed at Ardrishaig on the Crinan Canal in time for Easter.
Kelpie Maquettes, which have toured the world helping to promote Scotland as a visitor destination, have already had starring roles at major events including New York’s Scotland Week, the Grand National and the Ryder Cup.
They previously visited Inverness in 2016.
Cara Baillie, Senior Destinations Development Manager at Scottish Canals, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring The Kelpies Maquettes to Ardrishaig for the first time. The full size monuments in Falkirk are a tribute to the horse-powered heritage, which once helped Queen Victoria pass through the Royal Route.
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“I’m sure the maquettes will prove popular with both our visitors and the people of Ardrishaig and the surrounding area. There will be plenty of opportunity to take Kelpie Selfies and learn more about the steel structures. They have arrived just in time to celebrate Easter, and will be with us to mark the opening of our new community hub, The Egg Shed, in the summer.”
The original Kelpies, which tower over a new section of the historic Forth & Clyde Canal, are the centrepieces of the £43m Helix project which transformed almost 900 acres of underused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth.
More than three million visitors from all over the world have stood in the shadow of the sculptures since their unveiling in April 2014, bringing renewed vibrancy and income to the area and boosting the local economy by an estimated £1.5m per year.
A colossal engineering endeavour, inspiration for The Kelpies came from the heavy horses that pulled boats and cargo along the towpaths of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals in their heyday.
The transport arteries of the Industrial Revolution, the canals and the horses that walked them played a huge role in the development of the area. The sculptures’ name derived from the mythical Celtic water horses which could transform their shape and which were reputed to have the strength of 10 horses and the endurance of many more.
Glasgow-based artist Andy Scott – one of Scotland’s best-known sculptors – transformed The Kelpies from idea to reality, imagining a colossal gateway towering either side of the canal to welcome weary sailors and visitors to the nation’s hospitable shores.