"Where's Boomer?" Winners Margaret and Bill Neal in Scotland

November 21st, 2018

The Kelpies
The Kelpies, a modern world class work of art


The largest equine sculptures in the world, each horse head in The Kelpies is 100 ft. high, weigh 330 tons, sits on 1300 tons of steel reinforced concrete foundations and are made of structural steel with 900 stainless steel plates for the cover. These works of art and engineering marvel were created by artist Andy Scott. The site opened in April 2014, and in the first year nearly one million people visited the sculptures.

A kelpie is a shape changing aquatic spirit of Scottish legend, and are said to haunt rivers and streams, usually in the shape of a horse. Andy used Clydesdales Duke and Baron as the life models for his sculptures, but was inspired by the legend of the supernatural shape shifters. He said “the heavy horse was, at one time, the driving force in industry and I visualized the Kelpies as a monument to the horse and a paean to the lost industries of the Falkirk area,” he continued “I also envisaged them as a symbol of modern Scotland-proud and majestic, of the people and the land.”

In the 1930’s, a huge Clydesdale named Carnera, after Italian world champ heavyweight boxer at the time, was a local legend according to Scott. Reputed to be the world’s largest horse, he was more than 19 hands (6’3”) high and hauled heavy delivery wagons around Falkirk for Barrs soft drink company, creators of “Iron Bru”, still the national soft drink of Scotland. These heavy horses had a major role in industry and agriculture as well as obvious association with the canals as tow horses. They pulled the wagons, ploughs, canal barges and coal ships that shaped the economy of the Falkirk area.

Standing by these incredible sculptures is inspirational and almost unbelievable.


The Falkirk Wheel, world class engineering feat
The Falkirk Wheel, world class engineering feat

The Falkirk Wheel, completed in 2002, is a magnificent feat of mechanical engineering. It is the only rotating boatlift in the world and connects the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh by canal (connects the Forth and Clyde and Union canals in central Scotland). Designed to replace a series of 11 locks across central Scotland that were abandoned in the 1930’s, the Falkirk Wheel established coast to coast navigation of the canals for the first time in 70 years.

With an ingenious design, the wheel transports boats between two canals where one is 82 feet higher than the other. As the wheel turns, water and boats are scooped up in two gondolas and raised or lowered to the other canal. Computer controlled motors raise or lower 550 tons of boat and water. The gondolas are perfectly balanced, even if they don’t contain the same number of boats. The weight of the water that is displaced as a boat enters, is the same as the weight of the boat. Each half turn of the wheel uses only 1.5kw of electricity, about the same as boiling 8 kettles of water!

A true engineering marvel!

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