Skip to main content

Up in the Clouds on Foinaven

I went for a two-day walk over Foinaven recently. I didn't have time for sketching and the midges were too bad to stay in one place for long, so I only have photographs and memories from the trip. The weather wasn't as good as I'd hoped for, so I was in cloud for much of the time. I'll definitely go back in better conditions sometime.

 The walk in along Strath Dionard.

Loch Dionard.

It soon got very boggy.

Midges!! I'm glad I remembered to take gloves, even though it's summer.

A close look at midges!

There were some good examples of the amazing geology of the area.

Getting up into the mountains now.

Deer. I told them to keep their heads down now that the shooting season has started!

Up on the ridge.

Lord Reay's Seat.

A mountain shelter on Cadha na Beucaich.

Still more climbing to do.

The cloud cleared for some views down into Coire na Lurgainn.

Heating soup on the summit.

Off the mountain and across the moors.

The Kyle of Durness.


  1. Thank "You" ... for your guided trip "up into the clouds" Keith!

    Breath-taking!That best describes the feelings... even from a monitor.A wonderful trek! Great photo references!

    Sometimes there is no need for painting equipment Keith. Just having not to paint... just to soak in the beauty around you... and to feel the kinship with the Earth is the elixir of renewal needed.

    I know that this head-clearing tactic works for "Me" and jump starts my enthusiasm to get back to the easel.Does for you too it would seem.

    "He leadeth me beside still waters... it restoreth my soul..."
    Somebody else felt the same way... ever so long ago.

    Thank "You" for sharing Keith!

    Good Painting!... and Happy (midgeless) Summer!HAHA!

  2. Thank you Keith for taking us on a journey with you, I had a look at Foinaven on wiki and it is quite rough hard going terrain to walk across and up towards the summit. I wish the weather could have been better for you yet you have brought us some very atmospheric photos to view. I wonder what paintings you will produce after such a journey.

  3. Wow, what an amazing landscape.

    Isn't Scotland beautiful.

    I've been told my some tourists that 'there is nothing there' but they must be very nearsighted.

    A Scotlandlover from the Netherlands

  4. "Sometimes there is no need for painting equipment Keith. Just having not to paint... just to soak in the beauty around you... and to feel the kinship with the Earth is the elixir of renewal needed."

    Yes you're right Bruce. When I go somewhere new, I think I tend to feel under pressure to paint and bring something back with me. Maybe sometimes all we need to bring back is the experience.

  5. I think the cloud may have helped from a painting point of view, Caroline. As you've seen, it is very rocky up there and a bit of soft cloud will balance the hardness.

  6. Hi Anne,

    I suppose you have to appreciate wildness to find beauty in the Highlands of Scotland.

  7. You're entirely right, Keith.

    I count myself lucky to be travelling to Scotland twice next year; to Harris and to the Orkneys. Enough wildness there!

    Unfortunately my trip to the isles of Skye and Eriskay were cancelled this year due to the volcanic ash problem.

  8. thank you for those wonderfull pics keith,what an amazing scenes,those midgets are legendary!

  9. Yes Rob they certainly are. I read that they wouldn't be able to survive the last winter, so numbers should be down this year. The midges don't seem to agree!

  10. Midges?!!! What the hell are midges?!!! I thought ticks and chiggers were bad but I have never had to wear gloves. Sheesh. Scotland may be a little "wilder" than Tennessee. Thanks for the tour. If I can ever sell enough paintings and save enough money I'll buy some gloves and come se ya'.

  11. Beautiful! I imagine what it is like to breathe in that vista and to physically embrace it with all your muscles and tendons to the top and down again. Wonderful. Absolutely spectacular Keith
    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Yes ticks are nasty as well, Kevin, but midges are something else. They are only about 1/16 inch long, but they swarm in black clouds and leave bites that itch like mad.

    I've added another photo of them so you can see them in their horrible detail. :D


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Moorland Fire

Moorland Fire Watercolour 25 x 36 cm
There is a definite feeling of approaching autumn now, with some cooler days and more unsettled weather. It hardly seems any time at all since the spring, when there was a long spell of dry weather and the moors were tinder-dry. There were a number of serious fires at the time and several nature reserves were badly damaged. I think they were mostly caused by accident or carelessness this time, but unfortunately there are people who seem to get satisfaction from starting fires deliberately.

The fire in this painting is of a different kind. Every year between, autumn and spring, shooting estates burn off small patches of moorland to leave a patchwork of heather. This encourages the breeding of grouse, with the old growth providing cover and the new shoots providing food. The operation has to be done very carefully, because fires can easily get out of control, and once the underlying peat starts to burn it can burn for days and is very difficult to p…

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

Trying Out a Pochade Box

I had an old box for storing photographic transparencies that wasn't being used any more. It was just the right size to make a good pochade box, so I thought I would see what I could do with it. I fitted out the lid to hold two 8 x 10 inch panels, with the base holding the paints and brushes and a palette holding everything in place.

For its first trial I took it out to the same location as the previous post. This time it was raining, so it was an ideal opportunity to see how I would get on painting with the pochade inside my vehicle. It worked very well in the cramped conditions and was very easy to use.

When I had finished I just closed the lid and went home. Later, when I opened the box again, I found a blob of Pthalo Green right in the middle of the painting! I think the wood that I used for the palette was too flexible, so it had got pushed up into the lid. I was using acrylics, so normally it would have been easy to wash the green off. Unfortunately, I was trying out Atelie…