Scotland’s Famous Legends
The Helix Falkirk, Visit the Mythical Kelpies
In a land renowned for tales of otherworldly creatures one can’t help but want to learn more about, and possibly even search for, the unexpected, the magical, and the dangerous. Scotland has no shortage of faerie legends and monsters that are believed to roam across its vast landscape. You’ve no doubt heard of the Loch Ness monster, but what of the other creatures that are said to lurk in the deep? One of these monsters is the mythical creature known by natives as the “Kelpie.” Scotland pays homage to these legendary creatures with its recent installation of a sculpture known as The Kelpies. Located in the Helix, Falkirk, the sculpture showcases two enormous horses, or Kelpie, heads rearing from the earth. Towering 30m above the Forth and Clyde canal, The Kelpies are representing Scotland’s horse-powered heritage.
According to legend, rivers and lochs are home to one of Scotland’s most dangerous fae; the Kelpie. Although Kelpies are said to inhabit many of the bodies of water around the country, the most popular dwelling place is said to be Loch Lochy in the highlands, which is also Scotland’s third deepest lake.
The Kelpie can pose as a man and a woman, but most often takes on the form of a horse. Characterized by silvery eyes, backward hooves, and a dripping mane that is sometimes tangled with seaweed; the Kelpie is believed to have the strength and power of ten horses. This deadly fairy’s trick of choice is to pose as a lost pony to better lure its prey, often children, to their deaths. Unsuspecting victims are lost as soon as they touch the beast; its skin is an adhesive and once attached there is nearly no escape. The Kelpie’s hair also helps to secure its unsuspecting prey; the mane restrains the hands and its tail wraps around its captive’s waist, securing the doomed human as it plunges into the frigid depths of the nearest body of water. Finally, as the last breath leaves the human, the Kelpie feeds on its flesh. All that is left are the lungs and the heart, which float to the surface as a warning to those nearby.
The most common tale affiliated with this legend is that of ten Scottish children waylaid by a Kelpie on their way home from school. Nine of the children take the creature up on its offer for a ride but the tenth hesitates. Reaching out, the tenth child, a boy, touches the Kelpie, only to find that his hand is stuck. As the Kelpie makes for the water he manages to cut off his own hand and escape, leaving him behind on the shore to watch as the Kelpie takes the lives of his nine siblings.
About the Author
Hannah is a 20 something travel addict from Ottawa, Canada. She has recently completed her 25 by 25 goal and is looking forward to exploring even more of the world. You can keep up with Hannah and her adventures at Eat Sleep Breathe Travel.