Tayside and Central Scotland

The Kelpies horse sculpture completed

Work on Scotland's newest landmark, the 30m (100ft) Kelpies sculpture at Falkirk, has been completed.

The huge horse heads are made of 600 tonnes of steel and can be seen from the M9 motorway.

They are part of a £43m redevelopment of about 350 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth, known as the Helix Project.

It is hoped the site will attract thousands of tourists to the area and boost the local economy.

Glasgow artist Andy Scott designed the structures, which include 10,000 special fixings, to secure the "skin" of the two horse heads to the steel framework.

They were inspired by the tradition of working horses in Scotland which once pulled barges along canals and worked in the fields where The Kelpies now stand.

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

The Helix project was funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.

Mr Scott and Transport Minister Keith Brown visited the site to oversee the completion of the five-month construction project.

'Absolutely stunning'

The sculptor said: "It is almost eight years since I did the first sketches on the kitchen table of my then girlfriend - now wife's - kitchen table 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."

Construction of The Kelpies was started in June by Yorkshire-based company SH Structures.

The site will open to the public next summer after work is completed on visitor and parking facilities.

Falkirk councillor Adrian Mahoney said: "They have attracted international attention and really put the whole Helix project on the map.

"Experts are predicting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. The Kelpies will be a key part of that attraction and look absolutely stunning."

Jackie Killeen, director of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said: "This is the single biggest investment the Big Lottery Fund has made in Scotland and we are confident that this living landmark will be truly transformational."

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