Scotland’s Kelpie maquettes have returned home after more than six years of international globe trotting.
The original 1:10 scale maquettes, designed by sculptor Andy Scott, will returned to the Helix Park, Falkirk on Monday, after visits to places including New York, Chicago, Milan and London, and for the first time, the smaller versions have met the full size 30m high sculptures on site.
During their world tour the maquettes sparked international recognition with in excess of 1 million visitors from around the globe coming to see them on their travels.
The world’s largest equine sculptures were completed in October 2013 and form a gateway at the eastern entrance of the Forth and Clyde canal, creating a stunning monument to horse-powered heritage across Scotland.
Large-scale Helix e ents such as the two-day Fire and Light festival attract huge audiences from all over Scotland and beyond. The next major event, Canal Festival Time Machine, an outdoor festival in partnership with Scottish Canals, takes place on Saturday 24 May starting at the Kelpies, just before the maquettes depart on Sunday, 25 May. Some 15,000 people are expected to attend.
The Helix Park has also hosted events such as the Supernova 5k Run, Parkinson’s UK Walk, Falkirk Science Festival:STEM and Bliss Scotland Little Heroes Walk.
Ben Mardall, team leader at the Helix, said: ‘The Helix team are thrilled to be hosting the maquettes at the Helix, the home of the Kelpies. This completes the story and phase one of the Helix journey, from the original inspiration, to the successful completion of this amazing ambitious project.
‘Later this year will be see our 5 millionth visitor which goes to demonstrate the wonderful impact the Helix Project has brought to the Falkirk region for the local communities and visitors.
‘The Helix guides are really excited to have the maquettes here and have embedded the story of the maquettes into their 30 minute guided tour, which is the only way visitors can actually go inside the Kelpies.
‘We encourage new and previous visitors alike to come along so they are able to appreciate the full scale of the Kelpies and the inspirational vision that lies at the heart of the Helix, home of the Kelpies.’
The maquettes were sculpted from steel then galvanized in a hot dip process, and welded by hand. For the duration of their visit, the maquettes will be located outside the visitor centre at the Helix.
VisitScotland regional director Neil Christison added: ‘We are delighted to welcome the Kelpie maquettes back to their home at Helix Park following their worldwide adventure. The Kelpies have been a major success for Falkirk, the surrounding area and Scotland as a whole and this tour has helped reignite their appeal across the world.
‘It is very fitting that they return to this site during the Year of Coasts and Waters celebrations and I would encourage as many people as possible to visit them in the coming months.’