World-famous Kelpies come to Edinburgh's West End

Mini versions of the world-famous Kelpies statues have arrived in the West End of Edinburgh.

The 10-foot tall maquettes were the basis for the full-sized equine sculptures, which are the centrepiece of The Helix Parkland, a £43million regeneration project near Falkirk.

From the end of June they will be stationed at the junction of Princes Street, Lothian Road and Shandwick Place over summer as part of the drive to celebrate the city’s new-look West End, encouraging footfall and promoting local businesses, as well as raising awareness of the iconic Kelpies.

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “These fantastic creations represent a modern Scottish landmark so we are delighted to be able to host them here over the busy Festival period.

“The West End of Edinburgh is currently undergoing a series of improvements which, alongside this striking artwork, will vastly improve the area for residents, shoppers and visitors to the city.”

Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, Councillor Adrian Mahoney, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that the Maquettes will be in the thick of it during the Edinburgh Festival this year, promoting The Kelpies to the millions of visitors who are expected to travel to the capital for the event. It will encourage tourists to learn about this fantastic public sculpture and take a short trip to the Falkirk area to see it for themselves during their stay.”

Since the launch of the attraction in April 2014, the miniatures, hand-crafted by renowned sculptor Andy Scott, have toured as far afield as Chicago, North Carolina, New York and, most recently, Edinburgh Airport, Queen Margaret University and Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens.

It was originally agreed that the south-facing space at the top of Hope Street should be set aside for large scale public sculpture after discussions between the local community, businesses and the National Galleries of Scotland.

The new addition will help to set a standard for the best use of civic spaces in Edinburgh, marking the end of work to reinstate and improve public realm in the West End of the city.

Michael Apter, Chair, Edinburgh's West End BID, said: "We are delighted to welcome the Kelpies to Edinburgh's West End. The sculptures have already created a huge impact in Scotland, and we are really excite to see the models draw crowds to our part of the city centre, and into our businesses, this summer". 

The Kelpies, a 30-metre, 300-tonne public artwork funded by The Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals, forms the gateway to the new section of canal in Falkirk linking the Forth and Clyde.

The two horses heads, which are the world’s largest equine sculpture, pay homage to the tradition of working horses in Scotland, and their role pulling barges along canals and ploughing fields.

The miniature versions will remain in Edinburgh’s city centre until the end of the Festival.

Passers-by are being encouraged to tweet their ‘Selfie with  Kelpie’ using the hashtag #kelfie15.

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