Kelpies and Melrose, Scotland
Take a study trip to Scotland, a country in northwestern Europe! Visit the capital Edinburgh with Edinburgh Castle, the Houses of Parliament, the monument to Sir Walter Scott, St. Giles Cathedral or the Royal Mile. Explore other sights in the cities of Glasgow with the 12th century cathedral, the Barrowland Ballroom or the Science Center on the River Clyde; Aberdeen with the Playhouse or the two big universities; the city of Dundee with the Dundee Low, the St. Mary’s Tower, the Golf Museum or the Dudhope Castle, and other cities with numerous attractions that you will never forget. Explore the famous Highlands and the otherwise beautiful natural landscapes of Scotland, as well as the archipelago of the Orkney Islands or the Shetland Islands.
Steel water spirits in Scotland
The people of Scotland are said to be very open to mystical secrets and to have an intimate relationship with demons and legends. On this basis, the Kelpies emerged in the area of the small town of Falkirk on the Central Belt between Glasgow and Edinburgh. And the Scots do not associate this with an Australian breed of dog, but two thirty-meter-high horse giants that rise in the park “The Helix”.
According to legend, half horse, half fish
The extraordinary steel sculptures were created in the think tank of the Glasgow sculptor Andy Scott in 2013 and are supposed to symbolize water spirits that play a role in Scottish mythology. According to the legend, a kelpie inhabits the Scottish highlands in the numerous rivers and lakes. The creature has the head of a proud horse and the tail of a fish. According to tradition, the kelpies promise hikers to carry them across a lake. But then these would be torn into the abyss and eaten by the spirits.
Once the tug of the barges on the canal
At Falkirk, a monument has been set up for these water spirits, which amazes visitors to the park again and again. A canal separates the two horses’ heads – it is fed by the nearby Forth and Clyde Canal, which winds through Scotland for exactly 56 kilometers and, with its no less than 39 locks, represents an important link between the North Sea and the Irish Sea. The Falkirk Kelpies are something like the gateway to the east. In addition, they are also the memory of those workhorses that were extremely important as tugs for barges over a long period of history.
Three hundred tons of steel plates
The element water plays an important role for the so-called kelpies in “The Helix” -Park in Falkirk. The horses’ heads are reflected in the surface of the various pools. At night they are given colored lighting that intensifies the light again and gives the scenery an almost mysterious character. The mythical creatures weigh around three hundred tons each and were created by almost a thousand steel plates. In order to offer the kelpies a safe position, 1200 tons of reinforced concrete were rammed into the ground. All of this was completed in almost exactly three months of construction.
Small town pearl in the south of Scotland
It is approximately an hour’s drive from Edinburgh to Melrose. The picturesque town of Melrose in the Scottish Borders is next to the Eildon Hills and is the birthplace of the rugby sevens. The Melrose area has been inhabited for thousands of years. The Roman army arrived in AD 79 or 80 and built a great fortress nearby called Trimontium, “place of the three hills”. A signal station or shrine was built on the summit of Eildon Hill North. The Three Hills Roman Heritage Center is home to the Trimontium Museum, which is dedicated to Roman life in Scotland.
Sights and activities
Close to the town are the Roman Fort Trimontium, Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, and Dryburgh Abbey, where Sir Walter Scott is buried. Melrose is surrounded by the small villages of Darnick, Gattonside, Newstead, Lilliesleaf and Bowden. Gardening enthusiasts can visit one of the two National Trust for Scotland gardens in the area: Priorwood has an apple orchard that grows many historic varieties and Scotland’s only own dried flower garden; Harmony Gardens is a beautiful walled garden with great views of the Abbey and the Eildon Hills. The ruined monastery of Melrose Abbey is one of the visitor magnets of the Scottish Borders, the once highly competitive border area between England and Scotland.
In the city itself you can enjoy a lively atmosphere. A stroll through the many small shops and pubs is a special experience. Theodor Fontane already spent his time here.
The city is also home to the rugby sevens and gets a festival or rather carnival atmosphere when the sporting event Melrose Sevens takes place in spring. The first tournament took place in 1883 and today the event is an action packed international tournament that regularly attracts teams from New Zealand, South Africa, England, France and Portugal.