SCOTTISH MYTHOLOGY: THE KELPIES
Have you heard of the kelpie? According to Scottish legend, kelpies are shape-shifting aquatic spirits that are said to haunt rivers and streams, usually in the shape of a horse. But beware! These majestic beings are not so nice, and like to target children in particular. They do this by appearing as sweet, friendly ponies, in order to lure children near the water. Once atop its back, the kelpie’s sticky magical hide will trap the unknowing rider! Victim secure, the kelpie will drag them back into the water down…down…down…
Curious to know more about these mythical creatures and how to spot one? Keep scrolling!
WHERE TO FIND THEM
While kelpies are said to live in most major bodies of water in Scotland, you don’t necessarily need to go to the water’s edge to see them. Falkirk, located about an hour outside of Edinburgh, is home to The Kelpies, the largest equine sculpture in the world. Completed in April 2014, these 30-metre/94-foot high horse-head sculptures reside in Helix Park and can be seen from th M9 Motorway.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Keplies can be viewed from the M9 Motorway, or by visiting Helix Park. Accessible by car or public transit, we chose to drive, and stopped by for a visit on a road trip to Stirling and Loch Lomond. There are also multiple tour companies that stop at The Kelpies on day trips from Edinburgh.
- – While usually described as a black horse-like creature, kelpies are also said to adopt human form, often times retaining their hooves on land.
- – One of the water-kelpie’s common identifying characteristics is that its hooves are reversed as compared to those of a normal horse
- – Just touching these creatures activates one form of its magic, the ability to stick a human’s flesh to its own. There is a tale of a child that was enticed to stroke a kelpie’s nose, and while he managed to escape, he had to cut his own finger off in order to do so.
- – Babies resulting from a mating between a kelpie and a normal horse are said to be impossible to drown, and can be recognised by their shorter than normal ears. (Sounds kinda cute if you ask me!)
- – The kelpie has counterparts across the world, such as the Germanic nixie, the wihwin of South America and the Australian bunyip.