Watch: Meet Bella The Beithir, mythical serpent cousin of The Kelpies unveiled at Stockingfield Bridge

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Scotland’s largest community mosaic art project has been unveiled next to the Stockingfield Bridge.

The artwork, named the Beithir and created by artist Nichol Wheatley, is a mythical serpent in Scottish folklore and the cousin to the Kelpies statue in Falkirk. Watch the video above to find out the story behind the 121-metre piece, commissioned by Scottish Canals and the largest of the 22 artworks surrounding the new bridge.

Nichol had previously worked on the Stockingfield Bridge and wants to continue creating to “provide a vehicle for social action and positive change within North Glasgow”.

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He said: ““The purpose of this artwork is to build relationships and make connections, initially, within the three communities, Ruchill, Maryhill and Gilshochill, which are now physically re-joined by the new bridge.”

The creation of the serpent was in collaboration with Make It Glasgow, who helped create the around 2,000 tiles for the head of Beithir through community groups.

Co-founder Ruth Impey said: “It is a unique experience for the community members involved.

“It is something they will be able to visit for years to come, along with the other mosaic creations we have contributed to at Stockingfield Bridge,” she added.

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Construction began in September 2023, and will continue for the next five years as the local community helps put scales on the rest of the art work.

It will involve around 30,000 participants. The Beithir is affectionally name Bella as a nod to the late Alasdair Gray, who he worked with for 15 years - one of the main characters in his novel Poor Things was called Bella Baxter.

Ruth told The Scotsman: “This is Scotland’s largest mosaic project. The idea is that just as the bridge has connected people again, the mosaic making will build relationships and potentially create positive change in the north west of Glasgow.

"We wouldn’t like to say we are competing with [Antoni Gaudí’s] Park Güell in Barcelona, but we are definitely looking at them.

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"The history and heritage of ceramic making in Glasgow is not a story that’s often told.

“The majority of Glasgow’s industrial potteries were situated along the canal and we are trying to bring some of that manufacturing back and tell the stories of the people and the pots and the destination countries that this global trade was sent to.

"The long-term vision for the site after Bella is finished is to potentially to have a Scottish pottery museum at the top of the site, which will have a cafe, contemporary gallery space and a place where people can learn about the history and heritage of Scotland’s potteries.”

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