Foto Friday: The Queen and the Kelpies

FALKIRK, Scotland — July 5, 2017. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is all smiles as she opens the Scottish canal alongside the stunning 30m-high Kelpies sculptures.

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Crowds gather as Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visit The Kelpies sculpture near Falkirk to unveil a plaque to name the Queen Elizabeth II Canal that runs through the Helix development.

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive on a canal boat at the Kelpies on July 5, 2017 in Falkirk, Scotland. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited the new section the Queen Elizabeth II Canal, built as part of the £43m Helix project which features the internationally-acclaimed, 30-metre-high Kelpies sculptures.

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Sculptor Andy Scott (left) with Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh (back) as they visit The Kelpies sculpture near Falkirk to unveil a plaque to name the Queen Elizabeth II Canal that runs through the Helix development.

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Picture Source: Getty Images as noted.

Steel steeds to form stunning landmark symbolizing Scotland’s industrial past

‘KELPIES’ will stand 30 metres tall marking gateway to vast new parkland in Falkirk.

The massive silver horse heads being built on the Firth/Forth Canal. Photo Credit: James Stewart.
The massive silver horse heads being built on the Firth/Forth Canal. Photo Credit: James Stewart.

Daily Record and Sunday Mail

DOMINATING the skyline on the Forth & Clyde Canal, a pair of huge steel horses’ heads form a stunning landmark.

But few people realise the sculptures – called The Kelpies – are a poignant symbol of Scotland’s industrial past.

During the Industrial Revolution, working horses were a familiar sight on Scottish canals, pulling heavy barges laden with materials such as coal and iron.

Early inspiration for the Kelpies, one looking up and the other looking down, came from these heavy horses.

The striking 30-metre tall Kelpies have been created by Scottish sculptor Andy Scott and mark the gateway to a vast new recreational parkland, The Helix, in Falkirk.

This massive artwork will welcome boats as they journey between the River Carron and the Forth & Clyde Canal on a new 900-metre waterway extension.

But for most visitors, on foot on the towpath or travelling by canal, the wow factor of this new public artwork will be its sheer magnitude. In fact, the Kelpies claim the title of the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures in the world.

Featuring a steel frame and a network of 990 shimmering stainless steel panels, the horses’ heads also reflect the importance of a nearby ironworks.

Carron Iron Works was another vital part of Scotland’s industrial heritage and integral to the growth of Falkirk some 200 years ago.

Much of Scotland’s iron and steel ­industries, and their links to shipbuilding and international trade, owe their ­existence to the Forth & Clyde Canal. Glasgow sculptor Andy was also ­influenced by the legend of Carnera, a horse that was believed by locals to be the largest in the world.

Carnera is remembered for pulling his heavy cart of Irn-Bru bottles throughout the Falkirk area.

As for the name, The Kelpies, this is derived from ancient stories of mythical water horses.

Kelpies were said to have the magical ability to change shape and were reputed to have the strength of 10 horses.

Today this legendary strength and endurance provides the perfect representation of the transformational and enduring qualities of the modern Falkirk landscape.

For the Kelpies are at the heart of the £43 million Helix development, which has turned 350 hectares of under-used land into a vibrant visitor attraction. Read full report >>

Royal Marines help round up feral horses (UK)

Feral Horses Moray
Feral Horses Moray

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The Royal Marines were involved in helping to round up almost 100 semi-feral horses on a remote farm at Dallas in Morayshire in a major operation co-ordinated by the charity World Horse Welfare.

It was the charity’s biggest and most unusual project and also involved vets from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the armed forces charity, Horseback UK.

The operation was organised after an elderly farmer contacted World Horse Welfare as he was concerned about his Highland-type horses and ponies and realised help was needed to rescue them.

The animals were in danger of becoming serious welfare cases.

The herd, made up of stallions, mares and foals had been increasing in size for many years due to uncontrolled breeding.

The 1,000 acres of grassland, forest and scrub land could not sustain them adequately. Continue reading >>

The horses are expected to be sold at auction to recoup part of the expenses.

World Horse Welfare do not work to eliminate horse slaughter in the UK, preferring instead to work on improving welfare standards in transport to slaughter.

See BBC News Scotland video report >>

Two horses die at Scottish Grand National

Regal Heights and Minella Four Star collapsed at the end of the four mile Scottish Grand National at Ayr racecourse.

Regal Heights died of a suspected heart attack, while Minella Four Star is thought to have died of internal bleeding.

Their deaths come in the wake of last Saturday’s Grand National – the highest profile event in the racing calendar – where two horses died after falling at fences.

The races are two of the longest in the racing calendar.

Saturday’s horses are among 60 to have died in races so far this year – equivalent to just over four a week.

Animal charities have called for better regulation of the sport.

Continue reading >>

Rest in peace, Regal Heights and Minella Four Star.