MINIATURE replicas of the world-famous Kelpies have appeared at Irvine Harbour this week ahead of a blockbuster exhibition opening at the Scottish Maritime Museum.

The sparking steel Kelpie maquettes made a splash at the weekend as they took their place along the waterside in celebration of the opening of the museum’s Sea Monsters! exhibition this Saturday, July 2.

This is the second visit for Andy Scott’s 1/10 scale replicas of his towering, rearing horse heads, which symbolise the horse-powered heritage of Scotland’s canals and mark the gateway into The Helix and Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk and Grangemouth.

The two models, which have taken up position outside the museum’s Puffers Café overlooking Irvine estuary, were a popular attraction during the museum’s award-winning illumination: Harbour Festival of Light in 2017.

The Kelpie maquettes are one of the highlights of the new Sea Monsters! exhibition which opens with a celebration weekend of mermaids, monsters and fairground games this Saturday and Sunday.

Christopher Woodland, commercial manager at the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the Kelpie maquettes back to Irvine Harbourside.

READ MORE: Full steam ahead for Scottish Maritime Museum this summer

"They were hugely popular with visitors last time and, judging by the wonderful response we’ve had already, many more people will enjoy the chance to view these beautiful sculptures up close.

“For those wanting to see a little more of Andy Scott’s work, his ‘Sculpture of a Child’ stands proud at Irvine’s Sainsbury’s just a short walk away.”

The Scottish Maritime Museum’s family-friendly blockbuster summer exhibition ‘Sea Monsters!’ celebrates the fantastical and mythical sea creatures of Scottish legend and maritime mythology across the world.

As well as catching up with the latest news on Scotland’s most famous mysterious sea creature – the Loch Ness Monster, visitors will also discover fabulous fossils on loan from The Huntarian at the University of Glasgow – an Ichthyosaurus (large marine reptile); an Acrodus Anningiae (extinct cartilaginous fish); a Carcharocles Megalodon (pre-cursor to Great White Shark); and a Rhizodus Hibberti (an extinct fish). Then there’s the half man, half fish ‘Sea Monk’ monster from the 16th century - was it real or fake?

Other art on show will include artwork by illustrator and designer Axel Gutapfel and Irvine artist Maree Hughes’ interpretation of the legend of the Selkies or ‘seal people’ from the Northern Isles.

The museum’s ‘Come and Sea Us’ events programme, which runs from now until September, also includes Arts Award family days, sketching, storytelling, music, poetry and performance art workshops, Magic Carpet storytelling and singing sessions for under 5s and their carers, ‘Make and Take’ craft sessions for older children, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) activities and special ‘screamings’ of sea monster-themed films.

The Kelpie maquettes are on display next to the Scottish Maritime Museum’s Puffers Café on Harbour Street, Irvine, between 10am–5pm daily as part of the Museum’s Sea Monsters! exhibition and the North Ayrshire Making Waves Festival.