The Kelpies

Eurosafe undertook the challenge and provided safety solutions to Scotland’s Largest Art Installation, the Kelpies.

The Building

The Kelpies are two 30 metre tall, 300 tonnes horse heads made entirely out of steel, that are the centrepiece of the 740-acre Helix Park, which has been built between Falkirk and Grangemouth. Sculpted by Glasgow artist Andy Scott, the structures are inspired by Scotland’s history of working horses, which once pulled barges along the nearby Forth and Clyde Canal.

The Requirement

A safe method of access was required to complete the installation of the structures and to ensure that workers had access to carry out maintenance on the iconic structures.

As the art installation was a intricate and complex design due to all the all the panels being slightly different and having their own set place in which they needed to be installed. Alongside this, was a major issue of that the Kelpies were installed in the centre of a canal basin so access with a MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platform) was not a viable option. The majority of the work needed to be completed from inside the structure to ensure that the aesthetics were not affected.

The Solution

Eurosafe were chosen to provide fall protection equipment to The Kelpies after the Director of Eurosafe NL, Mark Van Buiten, was on a business trip to Scotland and recognised that the company could provide an effective solution to the structures.

Working alongside the main contractor on the project, SH Structures, Eurosafe solutions supplied and install an internal ladder within each of the horse heads, one 19 metres high and another 21 metres high whilst also providing rope access assistance to the installers of the structures external cladding.

Eurosafe worked to a strict timetable to complete the installation in time for the opening ceremony held in April. The company installed both of the ladders in three days. The glideloc system was chosen as it offers a safe, aesthetically pleasing and cost effective alternative to traditional hooped ladders. The rope access team were able to fit the ladders quickly and efficiently and then moved on to supporting the installation team with rope access techniques to complete the rest of the project.

It was fantastic to be involved in this prestigious contract. The Kelpies will help to reinforce this area of Scotland’s heritage and tradition, leaving a lasting legacy for the area. We have provided access solutions for many iconic structures such as The Shard, the Emirates Stadium and Heathrow Airport and it was great to be able to utilize the rope access skills of our experienced team on this exciting project.

Ian Shore - Rope Access Co-ordinator

The ladders provided by Eurosafe consist of multiple sections of Glideloc “Y” spar ladder sections, with a pivot section at the front of each which can be locked to prevent unauthorised use. The glideloc system consists of a fall protection rail, which forms a unique central stile to which the rungs of the ladder connect. To enable safe ascent of the equipment, each ladder features a shock absorbing travelling device within the rail, providing the link between the users harness and the ladder system itself.

Work to erect the £5m Kelpies sculptures is complete and it is possible public can now take guided tours around and inside the structures, after they were officially opened in front of tens of thousands of spectators. The Kelpies expected to attract an additional 350,000 visitors to the area and bring in £1.5 million of annual tourism spend.

Read more about Y-Spar Ladder Inspection

If you would like any more information, please contact...

Ian Shore

Ian Shore (Rope Access Manager)

Telephone: 0114 250 7411 (Ext. 304) E-mail: