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Peat Workings

Peat Workings
25 x 35 cm

Peat bogs are common throughout Northern Scotland. They are are formed when the ground is wet and plants, especially mosses, don't decay fully. Instead they form layers of dark fibrous material, at a rate of about 1mm per year, to a depth of as much as 4m. In geological terms peat is the first stage in the formation of coal.

Since ancient times, people have dug up and burned peat to heat their houses and this small-scale use has generally been sustainable. However, in some parts of Britain and Ireland large scale operations, extracting peat for use in gardening products, have resulted in extensive damage to sensitive environments. Large areas have been stripped bare and the peat will take thousands of years to build up again. Fortunately, although there has been some commercial digging in Caithness in the past, it has been for fuel and the area involved is small.

When small areas are cut there is little damage and there can even be benefits for wildlife. The holes that are left fill up with water and form pools, forming a habitat for amphibians, and aquatic plants and insects.


  1. Hi Keith!... As always!.... A pleasure to visit your site. A beautifully crafted and worded post that both visually pleases... and at the same time informs!

    Love the low-flying birds....nicely placed... a real eye grabber!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  2. Interesting post, and as usual, good painting.

  3. Hi Keith

    Good painting, I agree with Bruce the birds are placed just right.

  4. Hi Bruce, I'm glad you liked the post. These landscapes are so familiar to me, but I thought there might be some readers who have never seen a peat bog.

    I put in the birds because I thought it looked a bit empty without them. They are a common sight thought, suddenly flying up in panic when they are disturbed.

    all the best,

  5. Thanks Stuart, I expect you recognise them as grouse.

  6. It's always a joy to come here. Yet another superbly crafted painting Keith.

  7. I love this painting! I used to get hunting mags (Shooting Sportsman,Greys Sporting Journal) of Scottish grouse hunts and this is that feeling perfectly. This is so Scottish to me. A brace of birds gliding over the peat bogs,waxed coats, Wellies and high dollar guns. Always wanted to try it someday. Gonna' have to sell a lot more paintings first though.

  8. Yes I know what you mean about those pictures Kevin.


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