The Kelpie

BY BELISARIO RIGHI



The Kelpies - Sculpture by Andy Scott - 2014


The Kelpie, an evil spirit that takes the form of a white horse, belongs to Celtic folklore. It populates the lakes and rivers of Scotland and Ireland. It is also present on the Isle of Man, with the name of Alastyn and in Scandinavia, with the name of Backahasten, which means river horse. It is described as a splendid white horse that appears along rivers on foggy days.


Boy on kelpie - Painting by Theodor Kittelsen - 1909


It is docile and invites the unfortunate to get on its back. The poor riders, however, will no longer be able to get off and the horse will drown them, plunging into the river. Then the Kelpie will disappear in the midst of large flashes that it will cause by touching the water with its tail. It can also mate with normal horses, and the foals that will be born will be extraordinarily fast. Legend has it that any human who is able to harness one will ride beautifully forever.


Andy Scott's Kelpies seen at night


The two imposing horse heads, thirty meters high, are made with structural steel columns and beams visible through the plates, also in steel, which form the "skin" of the animals. The entire structures are illuminated inside and out, with lights that change in intensity and color to create a phantasmagoric spectacle in the hours of darkness. They are located in Falkirk, Scotland. They were completed in October 2013 and inaugurated in 2014. They are a monument to the heritage of Scottish horses, as well as an ode to Scotland's engineering and technology.


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