Skip to main content

The End of the Road

The End of the Road
16 x 26 cm

This is another abandoned farm, although it isn't a ruin and the barns and fields still seem to be used. It lies at the head of Dunbeath Strath (a "strath" being the name for a valley in this area). A rough stone track leads up to it, from the village on the coast, and goes on to a few fishing huts. There are a few ruins and small fields along the way, but the landscape becomes increasingly wilder. Beyond the farm there is just a vast area of moorland and bogs, with a few small lochs. The transition seems quite sudden: on one side there are walls and buildings with sheep grazing, while on the other there is wilderness.


  1. Hi there Keith!... Yet another fine panaoramic view in the fine Tilley watercolour tradition!

    The courage of our early ancestors... in whatever region of the world one looks is simply mind boggling isn't it!

    Even by today's standard it is wild and untouched... even in the face of our technology and travelling abilities.

    A lovely... sympathetic and sensitive record of your Scottish heritage! Well done Keith!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  2. lovely sense of space and light keith
    you live in a unique part of the world,good to see you recording it
    looks like spring is peeping thru as well!

  3. great to see you recording the isolated farm houses and crofts. I was looking at a few the other day when I was driving over the cabrach moor near Dufftown, I think there are only a couple that are still active farmhouses. Harsh conditions to live in the isolation would have been very difficult. They never had a day off either just the same routine each day. Hardy folk.

  4. Caroline and Bruce - modern life has brought lots of advantages, but I feel that something has been lost in the process. People don't seem to have so much resilience and self-reliance any more.

  5. Thanks Rob. I hear that snow is forecast for tonight, so maybe Spring is not quite here yet. The daffodils are out and we had a hedgehog in the garden yesterday, so I hope it's just a short cold spell.

  6. Keith...its been awhile since I have last bad. I have enjoyed looking through your latest...your landscapes have fabulous perspective.

  7. When they abandon the farms does the land stay in the family? What ultimately happens to the land and farms?

  8. Hi Kevin, I think they are mostly tenant farms, so they will be owned by big estates. The farmers would have worked on the estates as well, but there isn't the need for a large workforce any more.


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…

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

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…