They symbolise Scotland’s famous virtues of strength and endurance, but for more than 50 million people who catch sight of the Kelpies each year, there will be another justification to visit the area.
Scottish Canals, which manages the country’s inland waterways, has announced that the Queen will be giving her name to the new canal that forms the eastern gateway to the historic Forth & Clyde Canal in Falkirk, in a public ceremony on 5 July.
Joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty will board the Seagull Trust barge ‘The Wooden Spoon Seagull’ and lead a flotilla along the new canal. She will also unveil a plaque officially naming the new section the ‘’Queen Elizabeth II Canal.’’
Speaking ahead of the event, Scottish Canals chairman Andrew Thin, “The Kelpies and the canal they tower over have captured the imaginations of people the world over but they belong to the people of Falkirk, Grangemouth and Scotland itself.
‘’We hope everyone will join us in welcoming Her Majesty to The Kelpies and the Queen Elizabeth II Canal on July 5th for a fantastic celebration of the industrial past and bright future of the area and the waterway that sits at its heart.”
The opening ceremony will be among a series of engagements that the royals will undertake in the Highlands over three days.
Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said: “The official naming of the canal is another huge landmark in the Falkirk area’s transformation from an industrial heartland to one of Scotland’s best tourist destinations.”
The Helix is a £43 million project that aims to transform connections between 16 communities in Falkirk District. Scottish Canal says the mile-long Queen Elizabeth II Canal will pass underneath two major trunk roads and across utility pipelines, demanding innovative engineering solutions from a UK-wide team of experts.
It is hoped that the new project will transform the maritime experience for sailors arriving from Northern Europe and create a world-class marine hub in Scotland.