Kelpies pull in crowds to Kinneil

001-IMG_6980HORSE sculptures, a historic house and free open days drew in crowds to Kinneil Estate, Bo’ness, at the weekend.

Fifteen foot models of the Kelpies – the giant equine sculptures dominating the new Helix park in Falkirk – were positioned by Kinneil House and Museum, prompting a rush for cameras and phones to take "Kelpie Selfies".

The imposing A-listed mansion was also a hit with visitors. Organisers The Friends of Kinneil and Historic Scotland had laid on a costumed interpreter and free tours of the House, which boasts fine renaissance wall paintings.

Outside Historic Scotland Rangers were taking people on tours around the surrounding parkland. Kinneil Museum was also busy, giving out new activity packs to children and hosting a stall from the RSPB.

Maria Ford, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: "It was a wonderful weekend.

"We got notification late on Friday that the mini Kelpies were coming to Kinneil. When the amazing models arrived on Saturday morning, word quickly spread on social media.

"As well as the 500 or so people who visited Kinneil House over six hours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, many more people came along to get pictures of the sculptures – and lots of people popped into the museum.

" The Kelpies were a great addition to the open weekend."

The weekend open days were organised to support the John Muir Festival, and the new John Muir Way walking route, which runs through Kinneil.

Bo’ness Councillor Adrian Mahoney, who helped organise the free weekend, said: "Since the John Muir Festival was launched at the big Kelpies we thought it would be a nice touch to bring the wee ones to Kinneil for the finale weekend.

"Even the Mini Kelpies are quite heavy and need a specialist lorry and lifting gear. They stayed in the park over the weekend and went back to the Falkirk Wheel on Monday morning."

He added: "It was great to see so many families out in the park, enjoying visits to the House and the museum. There was the odd threat of rain, but the open afternoons were mostly dry and even the sun came out. More events are planned throughout the year and I hope people will come back for a repeat visit."

Maria added: " The Friends of Kinneil are indebted to Historic Scotland, Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust for their ongoing support. I’d also like to thank our brilliant volunteers who were busy guiding people around Kinneil House, sorting out car parking and tweeting and Facebooking the arrival of the Kelpies."

** For those who missed out on the open days, the House will be open again from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 16, as part of a "Night at Kinneil House and Museum". More details at http://www.kinneil.org.uk

** Pictures from the open weekend are also on the Friends Facebook page. Visit http://www.facebook.com/kinneil and click the "photos" button for all the shots.

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THE MINI KELPIES

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015-IMG_6994The "Mini Kelpies" are 1:10 scale models – known as maquettes – developed by artist Andy Scott.

The models are around 15 feet high and have displayed locally and across Scotland.

Two sets of "Mini Kelpies" were created. One has recently been in Bryant Park, New York.

The set at Kinneil were used at the VisitScotland Expo in Glasgow recently. They earned a "best dressed space" award at the tourism fair for VisitFalkirk, the local tourism body.

You can visit the big Kelpies at the Helix Park between Falkirk and Grangemouth. http://www.thehelix.co.uk