Skip to main content

Loch Avon

My final walk in the Cairngorms took me over the high mountains and down to Loch Avon.

I set off from the Ski-centre car park and passed below the Northern Corries on a good path.

Coire an t-Sneachda

After an easy climb I reached the slopes of Cairn Lochan and I stopped to sketch the view. The wind was strong at this elevation and I had to hang on to all my materials to stop them blowing away. At this point I was high above the top of the Lairig Ghru, where I had been sketching a few days before.

The Devil's Point from Cairn Lochan

A little further round the hill I ran into a group of friendly reindeer. I saw them coming towards me and waited to see what they would do. I thought they would keep away, but they came right up to me and grazed quietly beside me.

From this point the route would be much rougher. I was going down Coire Domhain to Loch Avon. The path was wet and stony and any false step could result in a nasty fall. I tried not to be distracted by the view across to the Avon Slabs.

Carn Etchachan and Coire Domhain

The Avon Slabs

Loch Avon is in a remote and lonely spot in the middle of the Cairngorms. One of its best-known features is the Shelter Stone. At some point in the distant past, a huge boulder fell from the crag above and landed in such a way that it left a space underneath. Here five or six people can shelter and it has been used as a refuge by travellers throughout history.

The Shelter Stone

As I settled down to sketch Shelter Stone Crag, the wind seemed even stronger than it had up on top. The resulting drawing was very rough, but it should be good enough to remind me how it felt to be in that place when I come to paint it later.

Shelter Stone Crag

I now had an equally steep route back up onto the plateau, but going up was much easier than coming down.

Coire Raibeirt

Having reached the top I stopped to rest and sketch the dramatic view across to Cairn lochan. There was then just an easy descent down to the car park, and the end of a wonderful day among some of Scotland's highest mountains.

Cairn Lochan


  1. There is nothing like coming in from a blazing hot, humid day here in Middle Tennessee and opening your blog and seeing your watercolors and drawings and photos of the Scottish landscape. They are so refreshing. You should work for the Scottish Department of Tourism because your blog makes me want to go to Scotland.I am sure it has that same effect on everyone who sees it.
    By the way, how are art sales in Scotland?They have slowed down here tremendously due to the economic meltdown we have had lately. Hope yours are doing well.

  2. I have not been around for awhile (all tied up with exhibition hanging and associated things) and I was filled with amazement on opening your 'blog'. The images are all great and I love the way you have interspersed photos with sketches and paintings. One of these days, I will have to come to Scotland and do some hiking - it looks fantastic.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thanks Kevin, I could say the same about your paintings of Tennessee.

    Yes sales are down here as well, although it varies. Art shows are still doing well, but people aren't buying so much in galleries. Maybe I should apply to the Scottish Tourist Board for commission!

  5. Yes Scotland is wonderful for hiking Diane. The scenery is so dramatic and varied.

    Do you have any mountains near you, or is it Bush country?

  6. We actually live on a hill (about 300 metres) and, although we are surrounded by bush, it is very 'up and down'. We have done a lot of walking in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney and most of our longer hikes have included hills (of varying heights). I think that it is the 'openness' of the Scottish landscape that I find so appealing.

  7. I love your drawings. Found your blog by way of surfing through blogs. My husband is from the Midlands. I've been to England 9 times. Maybe coming next year. Till then, will follow your blog and work!

  8. Thanks for looking in Debra. I like your work and your blog looks interesting, so I will enjoy following it. Yes I love the 'Summer Dazzle' painting too!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

North Coast 500

In 2015 the North Highland Initiative started a project to boost tourism in the northern counties of Scotland. The idea was to publicise a 500 mile route through Inverness-shire, Ross & Cromarty, Sutherland and my home county of Caithness, and promote it as a superb road trip. I don't know how successful they expected it to be, but it has quickly become very popular and has been called one of the top five coastal routes in the World. In fact its popularity is becoming a problem for the local residents: some of the roads are single-track, with bays at intervals to allow two vehicles to pass each other, but there is an etiquette for their use that strangers are not always aware of. The result is that local people going about their business find themselves held up by slow-moving tourist vehicles, so if you use the route please pull over and allow other vehicles to pass. The amount of traffic will probably also cause damage to the roads, which were not intended for heavy use. Desp…

Old Broubster 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 …

Christmas Wishes

A couple of my latest watercolours and -

Best Wishes to all for Christmas

"The Fuel Bowser", Watercolour, 24 x 18 cm

"View at Skelbo", Watercolour, 16 x 26 cm