"Showers Over Hoy" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm
This is a series of paintings I made recently of the Pentland Firth; the stretch of sea that separates the Orkney Islands from mainland Scotland. It is a treacherous channel, full of strong currents and tidal races. The islands are often shrouded in cloud, giving them an air of mystery. Most of them are fairly low-lying, but the island of Hoy has some mountains and dramatic sea cliffs, and the famous rock stack known as the Old Man of Hoy*.
"Sunlight on Hoy" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm
The southernmost island is Stroma, which lies just off the coast of Caithness. It had a thriving community at one time, but now it has been abandoned. It has a haunting quality, with the ruins of numerous cottages lining the skyline.
On a fairly calm day I was watching the ferry to Orkney sailing by Stroma, and the ship was pitching up and down quite dramatically in the rough sea. The waves weren't being caused by a strong wind, but by a strong tidal race running through the channel between the island and the mainland.
"Sailing by Stroma" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm
The Pentland Skerries are a group of small islands at the eastern end of the Pentland Firth. The largest one, Muckle Skerry, has a very essential lighthouse to warn shipping of their presence.
"The Pentland Skerries" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm