Kelpies raise their heads high at topping out ceremony

Clydesdale horses Duke and Barron are given a tour of the Kelpies by artist Andy Scott (left). Picture: Michael Gillen
Clydesdale horses Duke and Barron are given a tour of the Kelpies by artist Andy Scott (left). Picture: Michael Gillen
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Falkirk’s breath-taking Kelpie structures are now complete and ready to point the way to a bright future for the district in 2014.

The end of the £5 million project, a partnership of The Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals, was marked with a celebration on site yesterday (Wednesday) and a real sense of pride.

Mike King, Helix programme director, said: “It has exceeded all my expectations and has changed my view of the area. I feel a real sense of optimism about Falkirk now because of the opportunities this project will bring.”

Completion of the 100ft tall Kelpies marks a significant stage in the £43 million Helix development, which opens next summer, and is expected to help attract 350,000 visitors and coin in £1.5 million in tourism spending annually.

As the Falkirk district celebrated the completion of its iconic Kelpies one local man revealed the sense of pride being involved in the project gave him.

Mike, who was there at the birth of the Kelpies, revealed the sense of pride being involved in the project gave him.

He said: “I’ve been involved in the project since 2008, actually leaving my construction company to take up my post here. It was just too much of an exciting opportunity to say no to, to help bring something like this to an area where I have lived all my life.

“We have something here which mirrors, and enhances, the ambition of The Falkirk Wheel and I have lived and breathed the Helix since we shoved the first spade in the ground back in 2009 and was totally surprised by the scale of the ambition involved.

“I will look back on this with extreme pride and my three children will be able to grow up and enjoy new opportunities for healthy leisure pursuits and activities I never had.

“My children call it ‘Daddy’s Park’, let’s go down to daddy’s park. I think I will eventually break it to them when they are 16 or so that it is not actually my park.”

Mike added there were plans to add floodlighting to the Kelpies in the near future.