Tayside and Central Scotland

Kelpies sculptures open to public in Falkirk

kelpies Image copyright PA
Image caption A pyrotechnic display involving fire and music was held last week

The Kelpies, Scotland's largest art installation, has opened to the public.

The 300 tonne, 98ft (30m) horse head sculptures were created by Glasgow artist Andy Scott and sit in Helix Park, Falkirk, near the M9.

Work to erect the sculptures began last year and the public will now be allowed around and inside the Kelpies.

Falkirk Community Trust will take people on guided tours of the £5m sculptures.

It is hoped 350,000 visitors will visit the area each year, bringing £1.5m of extra tourism revenue.

When Mr Scott designed the steel structures he took inspiration from Scotland's history of working horses which once pulled barges along the nearby Forth and Clyde Canal.

A new extension linking the canal to the North Sea is expected to open up the inland waterways to more boating traffic in central Scotland.

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Media captionTime-lapse photography capturing the installation of The Kelpies

Mr Scott is also responsible for the Heavy Horse, which overlooks the M8 at Glasgow Business Park, and the Arria statue, which can be seen from the A80 and has been dubbed "the Angel of the Nauld".

When construction work finished on the Kelpies, he said: "It is almost eight years since I did the first sketches on the kitchen table of my then girlfriend, now wife, in Amsterdam. So to see them completed is both humbling and fantastic.

"I have always been fascinated with horses and the heavy horse was at one time the driving force in industry until after the industrial revolution."

The Kelpies have attracted international attention with two 15ft scale models of the horses displayed in New York along with a time-lapse video of the construction.

A light show last week helped unveil the finished work. The sculptures were brought to life with a pyrotechnic display involving fire and music.

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