The weather was just fantastic over the weekend and we had visited Scone Palace for their Celebration of Snowdrops on Friday and had a walk down by the river at Newburgh on Saturday (without our coats on!). Sunday was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky but we had no plans. The Dude then suggested a trip to the Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel as they are less than an hour away from us.
The Helix, an eco-park, is home to the thirty metre high stainless steel structures. It is part of the 350 hectares of land and forms part of the Falkirk Greenspace Initiative with an extensive network of paths, including many by the canal (which was frozen!). A great place to walk the dog, go for a run or cycle especially when the sky is as blue as it was at the weekend!
You can see the horses long before you get to The Helix but nothing quite prepares you for their true beauty and magnificence until you get to the park.
Randomly the satnav took us through an industrial estate and not to the main road entrance but brought us to the right place nontheless. At the time of arrival, 12:15, there was a small queue for what we thought at the time was the only carpark. The attendant taking our parking money told us that if we were unable to find a space he would refund it and we could park just down the road. However, we did manage to find a space.
I had seen many photographs of these 300 hundred tonne (each) works of art and was really excited to take my interpretation of Duke and Baron (the models for the Kelpies).
It was fabulous to see whole families out, people walking the dog, cyclists, runners and wheelchair users too. Obviously the sun being out helps but it felt like what Sunday’s should be about – relaxing, spending quality time together.
The visitor centre, cafe and shop were a hive of activity. There is an area within the centre that explains the story of the Kelpies design, creation and story but you can also book a tour which takes you inside the structures. For those who a feeling artistic you can also draw your own Kelpie. I spotted this on the wall by an anonymous artist:
There are other food vendors around the park and even the ice cream seemed to be selling well in the sunshine!
Here are a few of my images from our walk around
This last image I love but a bit disappointed that the widest lens I had with me was my 35mm. So even when I was lay on my back on the floor I STILL couldn’t get all his beautiful face in! It really is a good thing these stainless steel monuments are so spectacular because you can then, almost, forget that you are sandwiched in between the motorway and some rather unsightly pylons. But this is just the photographer in me talking.
The Helix really is adding to the community. Since 2003 there have been many improvements and achievements: new canal tow paths, road crossings, wetland boardwalk and new jobs in the area. There are also projects like bee keeping which involve local people too. The cycle routes connecting the Helix, the Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel and Callender House. Brilliant ideas.
Talking of the Falkirk Wheel, that is where we popped over to next. Again rather busy with families and groups of cyclists, great atmosphere.
This really is some amazing piece of engineering.
This is essentially a rotating lift for boats and the only one in the world. Connecting the Forth & Clyde canal and the Union canal and lifting boats 24 metres. If you are travelling along the canals you will still have to go through two locks to get down to the Union canal.
Normally there are boat trips but because of the ice that had formed on the water there were none at the weekend – another good reason to return.
We walked up to the top of the canal where there are great views and more pathways for walking and cycling. The water was still so I was able to get some great reflection shots:
We didn’t stay as long at the wheel or explore too far so I am looking forward to visiting again and maybe bring our bikes (when we get a round to buying some!).
If you want to see some more photos from our days out, pop over to my Pinterest board
We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours mooching round these two attractions and we would recommend the Kelpies and Falkirk wheel. Soak up a bit of Scottish history, get some fresh air and have fun. What else are weekends for?