As I described in a (very) old post, I went to Falkirk specifically to see Andy Scott’s Kelpies sculptures and perhaps some of his other works which can be found in a variety of locations around the town. In the end, I only had enough time for a couple of non-Scott stops, one roadside photo op and only the Kelpies by Mr Scott. These gave me a sense of what Falkirk locals find important to their identity, above and beyond Andy Scott’s exciting sculptural works…
A roadside plinth commemorating the Battle of Falkirk Muir in 1746, part of the Jacobite uprising, made for a quick photo stop to begin the afternoon.
Next stop was the Falkirk Wheel – a huge cantileverd mechanical lift that hoists narrow boats from one section of the Falkirk Canal to another, raising boats (one at a time) 35 vertical meters. Two things kept me from signing up to ride the boat. (1) a chilly downpour that lasted for a good 20 minutes and which proved that an old raincoat was no longer waterproof and (2) not knowing how much time I really had for this unexpected attraction. Even so, an impressive feat of engineering all the same.
One last stop on the way back to the train station was Callendar House, a listed building / stately home with a long pedigree and ties to Scottish kings and other nobility and, more recently, the Forbes family (yes, apparently those Forbeses). Interesting in a Newport, RI sort of way, though much less grand. More a museum in an empty building than the sort of OTT gilded glamour found in Newport. Maybe all the “good stuff” has been removed to another mansion or museum. The exhibits in the various rooms spanned Roman, Jacobite and Stewart history but it was hard to discern whether, for example, the dozen or so Roman-style helmets in one display were actual archaeological finds from the grounds or simply modern copies to demonstrate how far back the region’s history stretches.
A final side note – there is a senior living complex on the grounds of Callendar House (now there’s an idea for a one-of-a-kind retirement home!) but couldn’t get the camera out fast enough for a foto.