Friday, April 29, 2011

Hoy from Stromness

Hoy from Stromness
Watercolour
25 x 36 cm

The final part of our short journey to Orkney takes us into the approaches to Stromness. These sheltered waters are quiet now, but during both World Wars they must have been very busy. Scapa Flow was an important naval base and there would have been constant movement of ships out to the Atlantic and back. The old concrete bunkers and gun-emplacements can still be seen lining the shore.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kame of Hoy

Kame of Hoy
Watercolour
16 x 26 cm

Continuing on our journey to Orkney, we pass around the Kame of Hoy. Here the rampart of sheer cliffs comes to an end and soon the first farms appear, with fields leading down to the coast. We are now entering the Hoy Sound, one of the narrow waterways leading to the sheltered anchorage of Scapa Flow. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

St. John's Head, Hoy

St. John's Head, Hoy
Watercolour
16 x 26 cm

The ferry crossing from Scrabster to Stromness in the Orkney Isles must be one of the finest in the UK. There is the usual excitement of a journey over the sea to an island, but this one also has the bonus of the spectacular cliffs of Hoy. When the tide and sea conditions are right, the ship sails quite close to the coast, giving a good view. The most well-known feature is the sea-stack of The Old Man of Hoy, but surprisingly it is completely overshadowed by the 351m cliffs of St. John's Head, which are the highest in Britain.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Scaraben in Winter

Scaraben in Winter
Watercolour
25 x 36 cm

Unlike the rest of the county, the southern part of Caithness has a few hills and they all have distinctive shapes. Morven is like a great upturned pudding bowl; Maiden Pap, as the name suggests, is conical in shape; Scaraben when seen from the north, as in this painting, has a serpentine ridge like a sleeping dinosaur. I painted this earlier in the year, when there was still snow on the hills and the moors were frozen.

Heading for the Hills