Skip to main content

Moorland Fires Again

Sunset Fire
18 x 26 cm

We've just had a couple of serious moorland fires again in Caithness. They've been put out now with the help of the rain, but I expect they will smoulder for a while yet. Once the fire gets into the peat it can burn underground for a long time. I don't know how these started. It's too late to be moorland management so I expect it was accidental: just throwing a cigarette out of a car window can be enough. It's strange that we had no fires when the weather was warm and dry recently, but we've had them now that it's cloudy and cold.

I didn't get out to see the recent fires: I don't like "ambulance-chasing" in any case, but this painting was from another one that I sketched a few years ago. From a painter's point of view the smoke and the setting sun combined to make a wonderful subject.


  1. Hi Keith.
    Lovely painting. I especially like the reflections
    and colours. Sorry to hear about the Fires. all the best.

  2. The paingint is beautiful, I love the simplicity, it's not overcowded with details, yet captures the sight, has something I cannot express by words:)

  3. Keith, missed your last few posts but have now caught up.
    Your landscape paintings always leave me wondering how???
    The last one of smoke and sun is quite beautiful.

  4. Did I mention how difficult it is to post to you blog with that awful code thingy?
    It is!! BJ

  5. Thanks Vic, it seems strange to be talking about fires when it's been raining heavily all day here!

  6. Thanks Barbra Joan. I wonder "How" myself sometimes when things aren't going well!

  7. Yes Barbra Joan I know how annoying the code is. I tried removing it for a while and immediately started getting spam comments. They were all dealt with by the spam filter but was irritating to have to delete them. I think I'll try again and see how it goes.

  8. Good morning Keith!... A very powerful portrayal of an annual event it would seem... at least that is so in the northern reaches of our province of Ontario.

    Wild fires usually caused naturally by lightning strikes... but also by human carelessness ravage our most northerly reaches of fir populated areas... often destroying complete towns as they roar uncontrollably... until rains extinguish them.

    I love the stark contrast you have depicted using the dark and foreboding foreground... in conjunction with the billowing smoke and twice seen rosiness of the sun. Beautiful statement!

    Good painting!
    Warmest regards!

  9. Hello Bruce, I don't think there will be any more fires here now for a while, after the rain we've had.

    All the best,

  10. Hello Keith, I'm not dead, though you probably thought I may have been. I have just been very busy with other things: several exhibitions and writing a book. I have looked at some of your paintings from the last - very long - while. As always, they are absolutely wonderful. I think it is remarkable that you are able to keep your blog going like this; I'm afraid that I am not much of a blogger. That said, I have now started a new blog It is completely linked to the book I have just written and expect to have published in July. You are more than welcome to visit, and I will try to visit your blog on a more regular basis. Take care, Diane

  11. Hello Diane, it's good to hear from you again. I remember that you said that you were struggling to keep going with your blog with all your other commitments, so I assumed you were keeping busy.

    It's certainly hard to keep finding time for a blog sometimes, as well as finding something interesting to say. I think I'm helped by the fact that I can always write a bit about the history or geography of my area.

    I'll certainly have a look at your new blog. I've still got some ideas for a book of my own but it's one of those things I haven't got around to yet.

    All the best,

  12. Great effect John, using what appear to be simple techniques; but we know they aren't simple. Good to see you are still hard at your painting, and just getting better all the time! Regards, John

  13. Thanks John, good to hear from you again.


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…

Old Broubster Village

Throughout the Highlands in the Nineteenth Century, tenant farmers were evicted from their homes, or 'crofts', during the notorious Highland Clearances. Landowners, in a drive for efficiency and more profitable land use, wanted to replace the old system of small-holdings with large sheep ranches. The crofters were forced out of their scattered homes, often in a brutal manner, and re-housed in new communities. The land that they were given was often of poor quality and they had to work hard to maintain even a subsistence level of life. During this period many people took up the offer of a new life overseas, emigrating to Canada, New Zealand and Australia, where their descendants still have strong links with Scotland.

In 1839 tenants from the estates of Broubster and Shurrery, in Caithness, were resettled in a new village. Land was provided for them, but they probably had to build their own houses. The dwellings were in the form of long-houses, which consisted of a …

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