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Recent Exhibits

These were the paintings that I exhibited at the Society of Caithness artists exhibition in Thurso recently. Two were sold and the other two are still available.

"Strathy Point Lighthouse", watercolour, 16 x 26 cm Sold

"Ben Loyal and the Kyle of Tongue", watercolour, 35 x 51 cm

 "The River at Thurso", watercolour, 16 x 26 cm Sold

"Moored Boat on Loch Calder", watercolour, 25 x 36 cm

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Limekilns are found in limestone country, where the soils are thin, and they were used to produce fertiliser. The limestone was burnt at high temperature to produce lime, which was then mixed with water to produce quicklime. When it was spread on fields, it reduced the acidity and improved the fertility.

Broubster Clearance Village

Throughout the Highlands in the Nineteenth Century, tenant farmers were evicted from their homes, or 'crofts', during the notorious Highland Clearances. Landowners, in a drive for efficiency and more profitable land use, wanted to replace the old system of small-holdings with large sheep ranches. The crofters were forced out of their scattered homes, often in a brutal manner, and re-housed in new communities. The land that they were given was often of poor quality and they had to work hard to maintain even a subsistence level of life. During this period many people took up the offer of a new life overseas, emigrating to Canada, New Zealand and Australia, where their descendants still have strong links with Scotland.

In 1839 tenants from the estates of Broubster and Shurrery, in Caithness, were resettled in a new village. Land was provided for them, but they probably had to build their own houses. The dwellings were in the form of long-houses, which consisted of a …


For much of it's early history, Wick was little more than a small collection of buildings at the mouth of the River Wick. However in the 19th Century, prosperity came to the town as a result of the growth of the fishing industry. Fleets sailed out of Wick, and other ports, in search of the huge shoals of herring that were in the North Sea at that time. This was happening at the same time that the Highland Clearances* were driving people out of their homes in much of Northern Scotland. Large numbers of these Highlanders were attracted to the fishing ports in search of work. In Wick it led to the construction of a new town, Pultneytown, on the south side of the river. The two communities were administered separately for many years, but eventually they were merged into one town. Sadly for Wick, the herring stocks crashed under the pressure of over-fishing, and the prosperous times came to an end.

Some imposing buildings were constructed during the prosperous years, incl…

The Shelter Stone

Throughout Scotland climbers, and other users of the mountains, share knowledge of places which can be used as rough overnight shelters. They are often known by the old Scottish word, 'howff'. One such place is at the head of Loch Avon in the Cairngorm Mountains. The Gaelic name for it is Clach Dion, and it consists of a large boulder resting on a number of smaller stones. Long ago someone must have discovered the natural cavity underneath, with enough space for four or five people. For centuries ever since it has been used as a refuge from the severe mountain weather, although some people might not find it easy to sleep with such a huge boulder above them!

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Balnakeil Beach

The community of Balnakeil lies at the furthest North-westerly point on the British mainland. It is well-known for its Craft Village, an experiment begun in the 1970's to turn disused military buildings into an artistic centre. The project was a success and the site now has various businesses, including a bookshop and restaurant, and a popular chocolate shop!
Below the village lies Balnakeil Beach, a long stretch of sand around one side of a narrow bay, with turquoise water and backed by towering sand-dunes. The beach leads to the end of a promontory at Faraid Head, where the Ministery of Defence still has a presence in the form of a small radar station. This is used to monitor military excercises which take place every year at nearby Cape Wrath.

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Shelter Stone Crag

The south-western end of Loch Avon, in the Cairngorm Mountains, is over-looked by the dramatic Shelter Stone Crag. It is named after a massive boulder that lies at its foot, at the bottom of the light area in the painting. The rock is positioned in such a way that there is a large cavity beneath it, which can be been used as an overnight shelter for travellers in this remote area.

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