Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lochdhu Lodge

"Lochdhu Lodge" - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm

I was on a long bike ride one day, when I came round a corner and saw this building. It was surprising to find such an imposing house in the middle of an area of forestry plantations. I found out later that it's called Lochdhu Lodge, and that it was built towards the end of the 19th Century for Victorian shooting parties. It probably owes its existence to the nearby railway, which meant that building materials could be brought in easily.

The name "Lochdhu" means "Black Loch". There are lots of other dhu lochs throughout Scotland. Some are very deep and dark ,or in shady places, but I think the name more often comes from the dark peat-stained water.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another View of the Quarry Buildings

"Old Quarry at Dirlot" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

This is another view of the quarry buildings that I painted earlier in the year -

That painting might have given the impression that the quarry is surrounded by woodland. In fact, although there is an area of commercial forestry, the surrounding countryside is mostly moorland and rough grazing. The second painting gives a better idea of the feeling of open space. The forest is being cleared now, so there will soon be open views in all directions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dunnet Forest

"A Walk in Dunnet Forest" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

Dunnet Forest is one of the few areas of mixed woodland in Caithness. It was originally a commercial conifer plantation, but it was purchased by Scottish Natural Heritage and is now managed as a community woodland. The Dunnet Forest Trust has done a lot of work, clearing areas of fallen trees and replanting with native species. They have also created an extensive network of paths and it's possible to walk quite a long way, and even get a bit lost! With all the open space in the county, it makes a nice change to experience a woodland setting, with all its sounds and smells.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Grasping the Moment

"Rocks and Trees, Dunbeath Strath" - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm

When I made a sketch of this place, high up Dunbeath Strath, my main impression was one of wildness and tranquillity. Admittedly, there were sheep grazing nearby, and there was a man-made fishing pool in the river below, but these didn't impact much on the sense of isolation. Imagine my surprise on my next visit when I found that a large log cabin had been built there. It appears to be a shelter for fishing parties from the estate that owns the land.

I'm glad that I took the opportunity to make a few sketches of the area as it was when it still seemed wild and remote.

Bothy in Dunbeath Strath

Monday, March 30, 2015

Borgie Falls

"Borgie Falls" - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm

Borgie Falls will be well-known to people who fish on the River Borgie, in Northern Sutherland. It must be exciting to see the salmon, leaping up the waterfall to reach their spawning grounds higher up the river.