Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Lairig Ghru

I've just come back from a trip down to the Cairngorms. The weather was pretty wet but I managed to get a couple of days of hill-walking. It was great to be up among some of the highest mountains in Scotland and I got some good sketches and photographs.

I didn't take my watercolour box with me this time as I intended to try using watercolour pencils. I haven't had much success with them previously, but when you are sketching on a mountain in gale-force winds, it's much easier to hold a few pencils instead of a paint-box and water pot. They are so much more convenient that I think it's worth persevering with them. I used a small selection of Derwent watercolour pencils, three Karisma Graphite Aquarelle pencils and a Pentel waterbrush. This last item is very useful for sketching as you don't have to carry a separate water pot and keep dipping the brush in it.

The first walk I did was into the Lairig Ghru, one of the two great passes through the Cairngorms and an ancient route for travellers. The route took me below the Northern Corries of Cairngorm to the Chalamain Gap, a remnant of the last Ice-age.


The Chalamain Gap
Karisma Graphite Aquarelle pencils on A5 cartridge paper


The Chalamain Gap


Once I had scrambled over the boulders that filled the Gap I descended into the Lairig Ghru.


Entering The Lairig Ghru


Mountains towered on either side and steep scree-covered slopes closed in on the path. I could have found lots of subjects to sketch, but I had to limit myself a bit as I wanted to reach the top of the pass.


The Lairig Ghru and Lurchers Crag


Eventually I reached the top and had some sandwiches while I sketched the view down the other side.


Looking south from the Pools of Dee


I returned by the same route and sketched some of the views I hadn't done on the way up. The weather had been good and the day was only spoiled by the midges which descended on me whenever I stopped. Regular applications of insect-repellent were required!

5 comments:

  1. Looks a wonderful place Keith. Some of my family visited the Cairngorms last summer and said it was magnificent. I've never been to Scotland but hope to rectify that one day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The 'gale-force' winds would have made life a bit difficult but, perhaps, not as much as the 'midges'? I assume that you were rather much on your own for most of the time - that is how such a landscape is best appreciated, wouldn't you agree?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes Diane, the wind I can cope with, but the midges are something else. even with insect repellent they still find a way through.

    I was surprised that I only saw a few people. I thought that one of the UK's main hiking areas would be really busy in the summer. Not that I'm complaining though, because I agree that one of the reasons for going to these places is for the feeling of solitude.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Susan

    http://sketchingdrawing.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Dayana. Thanks for looking in.

    ReplyDelete