After an enjoyable trip to the Orkneys, Paddy and Plunkett have finally decided to head back to the Scottish mainland! The next stop on their journey was to visit the giant Kelpies sculptures in The Helix parkland, just outside the town of Falkirk in central Scotland.
These two massive horses stand guard over the eastern entrance to the newly extended Forth and Clyde canal, and they’re fast becoming one of Scotland’s most recognisable landmarks! Kelpies are mythological water creatures that feature heavily in Scottish folklore – pretty much every major stretch of water in the country has a resident kelpie. They usually take the form of a large and powerful horse, and their rather spooky modus operandi is to tempt humans to hop aboard, before plunging back underwater and having them for dinner! However, though the Kelpies statues may take their name from these otherworldly aquatic beasts, they are intended to represent the hardworking horses who pulled the barges along the canals back in the day… a fitting tribute, I think! The boys had lots of fun posing with the sculptures, despite the photography challenges posed by the breezy weather…
They resisted the urge to join them though… They had an appointment with royalty!
This rather lovely place is Dumfries House. Back in the mid 2000s, its future was looking a little uncertain… the house was due to be sold, and its original Chippendale furniture (including some custom-made pieces) auctioned off. At the eleventh hour, the house, the estate in which it stands and its entire contents were purchased by a consortium headed up by Prince Charles, so that it could be preserved intact, and used to bring revenue to the surrounding area.
The house was opened to visitors in 2008, and since then other parts of the estate have been repurposed and put to use as well, providing education, employment and income to keep the project running. And there really is a lot going on there… for starters, you can stay on the estate! Paddy and Plunkett snuck into this beautiful, cosy room in the old stable block, now converted into a pretty spiffy guesthouse…
…And then took a tour of the Walled Garden, to check out the conservatory and herb garden!
Although the boys were also tempted by a tour of the house or a visit to the Arboretum, they realised that the date on their ferry ticket was…
Phew! Made it, with seconds to spare!
Have a safe trip home, boys!