Fabulous features in Falkirk
If I say Scotland you will naturally first think of the magical highlands, the mystery of Loch Ness and its historic capital Edinburgh. But unlike Loch Ness (without offending any locals), lesser known Falkirk has got some more visible creatures to lure in tourists. And that’s what they’ve been doing since 2013, when The Kelpies first raised their heads against the sky.
The two giant horse heads are almost 30 meters tall and constructed of 300 tons of steel. Created by the Scottish artist with the fitting name Andy Scott. An artist known for other beautiful horse sculptures found in Scotland, England and Australia. The Kelpies are a stunning tribute to the working horses through Scotlands’s history, and they make you feel humble and small when you stand underneath looking up. Truly impressive.
I wanted to see The Kelpies since I saw photos of them online a couple of years ago, and when I found myself in Edinburgh last year, I just had to make the trip. And they’re certainly worth the bus (or train) ride from the capital – offering stunning shots day and night. They’re located in The Helix park, and can be spotted from the M9 motorway. But stay safe in traffic and make it a full stop here. A guided tour (including a visit inside one of the sculptures) can be booked in the new visitor centre, but seeing the sculptures up close is free.
A giant boat elevator
The Kelpies are not the only giants around Falkirk. Let me introduce you to The Falkirk Wheel. A gigantic canal boat elevator raising and lowering boats 24 meters, to connect the Forth & Clyde Canal with the higher Union Canal. A spectacular sight that’s been going on since 2002, and today is one of the most popular man-made attractions in Scotland. And what a piece of engieneering it is – the only of its kind in the world.
It’s said that the engieneers behind it used lego bricks to come up with the right solution, to replace the original 11 locks removed in the 30’ies, that took hours to pass through. Today, a one-way trip in The Falkirk Wheel takes just about 20 minutes. And a touristic boat tour that takes you up and down the wheel takes around an hour. A tour where you will get to hear much more about the technical stuff.
I didn’t take the tour, but just to see the wheel in action is worth it. And it’s easily reached with the tourist bus from The Kelpies. Also the area around The Falkirk Wheel is really nice and includes a modern visitor centre, a souvenir shop and a café.