100-foot-tall horse head sculptures unveiled in Scotland

Towering over the Forth and Clyde canal, The Kelpies are a tribute to Scotland's horse-powered history.

The Kelpies
Equitecture: Sculptor Andy Scott stands with Clydesdales Duke and Baron, which served as models for The Kelpies. The Kelpies

If you thought Middle Earth's enormous statues of Isildur and Anarion were cool, Scotland now has something that's nearly as badass.

They may not be as imposing as the Argonath, but the 100-foot-tall horse heads known as The Kelpies are still out of this world.

Created by a team led by Glasgow sculptor Andy Scott, the heads are fashioned from 600 metric tons of steel and stand as a monument to working horses in Scottish history.

The Kelpies are located along the Forth and Clyde canal, a nod to a time when horses pulled barges through Scotland's canals.

They also draw inspiration from Kelpies, which are magical, shape-shifting horses from Celtic folklore said to inhabit rivers, streams, and lochs.

Modeled on two Clydesdales named Duke and Baron, the sculptures guard a new branch canal that runs under the M9 highway, welcoming visitors to the region.

"The materials of the sculptures are deliberately those of Scotland's former industrial heartland, steel construction on an architectural scale: equitecture," Scott says in an artist's statement.

"The towering horse heads will have an industrial aesthetic with structural columns and beams visible through the riveted laser cut steel plates of the skin, the manes rendered as geometric overlapping slabs of steel. The entire structures will be illuminated inside and out to create a stunning spectacle in hours of darkness."

The Kelpies are slated to open to visitors in April 2014. Meanwhile, check out the eye-popping views of them in the video below.

 

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