The Kelpies maquettes stabled at Queen Margaret University over winter

By Press Office

For the first time, the set of maquettes that were used to launch the The Kelpies in New York will be on display in the UK at an outdoor public space. The equine art works will be effectively stabled over the winter months at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (QMU).

The maquettes were the models for the award-winning 30 metre high horses heads known as The Kelpies. Together with Kelpies Marina, they form the dramatic gateway to the new section of canal in the Falkirk District linking the Forth and Clyde, which is centred within the innovative 350 hectare Helix Parkland operated by Falkirk Community Trust and funded by The Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.

Hand crafted by Scottish sculptor, Andy Scott, the 3 metre high maquette sculptures will be positioned in University Square at Queen Margaret University’s campus next to Musselburgh on the east side of Edinburgh. The final design of The Kelpies is uniquely linked to this set of maquettes which recently toured the USA, appearing in Chicago, North Carolina and at New York’s Scotland Week.

Queen Margaret University has a special connection with The Kelpies and The Helix project. Working in partnership with the project partners, the University’s media practice lecturer, Walid Salhab, produced the stunning stop-motion film of The Kelpies which has been shared on social media all over the world and has received nearly 93k hits on the Helix website alone. He was the only filmmaker to have unlimited access to the full four month build phase of the momentous structures, and his mesmerising portrayal of The Kelpies when they reached completion helped launch The Kelpies in New York and in Scotland. His unique stop-motion/time-lapse filming technique has been used to great effect with The Kelpies film helping secure Falkirk’s place on the global tourist map and supporting the Council’s work in exceeding projected visitor numbers to Falkirk and the surrounding area.

Award winning filmmaker, Walid Salhab, often dubbed ‘Mr Kinetic’, due to the style of his unique filming technique, explained: “Filming The Kelpies over a six month period, capturing the build and then their final completion, was the most challenging project of my life. But it was a privilege to help bring Andy Scott’s creation to life in a stop-motion/time-lapse film.”

Walid continued: “I spent so much time filming them during the day and in the dead of night, trying to capture their changing qualities, I began to feel that they belonged to me. I think that people in the Falkirk area probably feel the same sense of ownership. To have them on display at Queen Margaret University is a dream come true. We couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present!

“Once again, I get to experience the brilliance of Andy Scott’s work on a daily basis, albeit in miniature, and to share The Kelpies maquettes with the wider QMU community.”

Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “We are extremely grateful to Falkirk Council and we feel honoured to have the maquettes of The Kelpies housed at the University. When we created our purpose built campus in 2007 we constructed a building that deliberately faced into our new community of East Lothian. We have sited the maquettes near the entrance to our academic building so that they too face towards Musselburgh. It is also the first time that we have had art work displayed in University Square.”

University Square has a daily footfall of approximately 2500 people and senior staff and QMU believe that the maquettes will encourage many more people from the surrounding area to visit the campus. 

Professor Wend continued, “We now invite people from our East Lothian and Edinburgh communities, and from further afield, to visit our campus and see the maquettes. Hopefully, this will whet their appetite to see the full sized Kelpies in all their glory and to enjoy the amenities of Helix Park in Falkirk and the surrounding area.”

Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for tourism, Councillor Adrian Mahoney, said: “The Kelpies maquettes have become travelling ambassadors for Scotland and the Falkirk area and we are delighted they are being looked after by Queen Margaret University this winter, giving them pride of place as the first major sculpture to be on show in University Square.”

To celebrate the arrival of the maquettes at Queen Margaret University, the Preston Lodge Pipe Band played a set of Scottish tunes in University Square. The juvenile band, which is made up of pupils from Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans, East Lothian, play at major university celebrations such as graduation.

Watch Walid Salhab’s film of The Kelpies visit



  • The Kelpies structures can be easily seen from the main M9 motorway and vantage points around Falkirk district.
  • The 30 metre (100ft) high sculptures of two horses’ heads, which were completed in November last year, are the world’s largest equine sculptures and are currently playing a key role in The Helix attracting an additional 350,000 visitors and adding around £1.5 million in additional annual tourism spend in the area when the development opens to the public later this month.
  • Construction work on The Kelpies structures began in June, 2013 and was undertaken by Yorkshire-based SH Structures. Each Kelpie weighs 300 tonnes and contains 3,000 metres of steel tubing and 17,000 component parts. The steel was fabricated in Yorkshire and transported to Falkirk where the seven-person SH Structures team painstakingly pieced the structures together using sophisticated 3D modelling software.
  • The wider Helix initiative is already providing another major tourist attraction for central Scotland and helping build the growing tourism economy of the Falkirk Council area.


Walid Salhab and his Kelpies film work

  • Walid Salhab captivated international audiences with his spectacular portrayal of Edinburgh in winter when he released Kinetic Edinburgh II. This film has achieved over 4 million hits on You Tube and Vimeo. He recently released ‘Kinetic Edinburgh III - Festival City in Motion’.  His suite of dynamic kinetic films has achieved millions of hits on social media. Contracted by The Helix to produce the film, Walid is the only filmmaker to have had access to the complete build phase of the momentous Kelpies structures – thereby visually documenting a period in Scotland’s history.
  • Walid and his technical support partner, Bill Annua, spent months on The Kelpies construction site using a unique combination of hand-held, slides, tracks and static cameras to capture the build. A 1000 hours of filming and editing went into creating the final seven minute film. Over 120,000 photos were taken with 12,000 making it into the final cut. The result is a fascinating mechanical portrayal of the build phase followed by a mesmerising portrayal of the finished Kelpies in all their glory.
  • What makes the film different from most time-lapses of new buildings is the significant movement of the camera within the construction site while the build was taking place. One tiny clip - for example – the adding of the horse’s jaw – could take up to eight hours to film.”

Queen Margaret University film and media work.

Read more about Queen Margaret University’s film and media specialism. Find out more about the University work with business and industry.


For further media information contact:

Lynne Russell, Communications Manager at Queen Margaret University on E:,  T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239


Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E:, T: 0131 474 0000.

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