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Showing posts from June, 2011

On the Ramparts

On Stob Coire an t-Sneachda Watercolour 25 x 36 cm
This is another view of the edge of the Cairngorms plateau. On this northern side there is a series of deep corries, like the ramparts of a castle surmounted by rocky battlements. The sun barely reaches into these deep places and snow often lies here throughout the summer. Coire an t-Sneachda means 'Corrie of the snow'.

The Hills Which Turned Blue

Crags on Cairn Lochan
Watercolour
26 x 36 cm
The old name for The Cairngorms range of mountains is 'Am Monadh Ruadh', or The Red Hills. The name probably refers to the pink colour of the granite, which makes them glow red in the setting sun. However, in modern times the whole range has come to be known by the name of one of its mountains, Cairn Gorm.

This has led to an amusing paradox: Cairn Gorm means 'Blue Hill', so The Red Hills have now become The Blue Hills! Also, signs in the National Park are in Gaelic and English, so the mountains are red or blue, depending upon which language is used.

Duncansby Head

Below the Stacks at Duncansby Head Watercolour 26 x 36 cm
There is a popular sporting challenge, which involves walking or cycling the length of the British mainland. The usual starting point is the rugged coast of Land's End, in Cornwall, in the far south-west. The finishing point is John o' Groats, but it really ought to be Duncansby Head, the most north-easterly point in mainland Britain. However, I believe that Lands End now has a theme park, which must distract from the experience for those who are looking for a sense of natural drama. Fortunately, Duncansby Head is unspoilt, so long may it remain 'Land's End to John o' Groats'!