If you’ve had a look at my off-beat Scotland Bucket List for 2017, you know the magnificent Kelpies are a real hidden gem! Ticking them off the list became a lot easier when Rabbie’s launched a tour that takes in the Kelpies, Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle from Edinburgh.
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The Kelpies are a bizarre, yet must-visit landmark in Scotland: two 30m-high horse-head sculptures near the town of Falkirk, only half an hour drive from Glasgow. Before you read on, check out my video of the trip:
Rabbie’s Kelpies tour
The day tour with Rabbie’s starts at a reasonable time and leaves Edinburgh at 9.15 am. The time actually spent on the road is minimal though, as the Kelpies are only 30 minutes away from Edinburgh. After some time to explore the Kelpies, the tour continues to Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle.
Other than Scotland’s usual natural wonders, the Kelpies are made by humans – the perfect combination of art and engineering. They weigh around 300 tonnes each and were constructed from June to October 2013. Designed by Scottish figurative sculptor Andy Scott, the Kelpies are inspired by the heavy Clydesdale horses which powered much of Scotland’s industry and economy, pulling wagons and ploughs but also barges and coal ships.
Their name however derives from mythical creatures of old Celtic tales. Kelpies, you must know, are shape-shifting creatures, often appearing as horses who live in the lochs and rivers of Scotland, luring innocent souls into their realm – they are said to have the strength and endurance of more than ten horses. How could one resist?
During the Kelpies tour we had about plenty of time to walk around those magnificent creatures, take photos from all angles and learn more about their construction in the Kelpies visitor centre. There is a coffee stand outside the centre, but also wee cafe by the boats behind the Kelpies.
Why go with Rabbie’s?
This was my fourth experience with Rabbie’s so far, and like always, it’s been a pleasure to come along. Our driver-guide Gordon was a bit nervous upon spotting me and my camera – he had been working for Rabbie’s for a while, but this was one of his first times on the Kelpies tour. If he wouldn’t have said it though, I would never have noticed, because he delivered a perfectly thought-out tour to our group.
What I like about Rabbie’s tours is that each driver-guide brings their own personality to the tour. Being a former UofG-student himself, Gordon told us quite a bit about the city on our way out. A highlight was definitely that he was born close to Skye and a native Gaelic speaker. He gave us a proper introduction to the language (didn’t understand a word) and played some Gaelic music to pass the time on the motorway.
Have a look around my other Rabbie’s tour reviews for more info on their sustainability programme and other tour options!
The Kelpies tour from Edinburgh is a great way to see a different side of Scotland and explore beyond the natural beauty of the Highlands or the urban hubs of Edinburgh or Glasgow. I might have ticked off an item from my Scotland bucket list – but I already know, that I’ll be back at the Kelpies one day!
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.