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Showing posts from November, 2012

Caithness Skies

'Sunset at Loch More' - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm

Caithness is known for its big skies and each season brings out different aspects. I find summer sunshine a bit uninteresting because of the lack of clouds and the washed out light. Rain showers bring spectacular rainbows though. The late sunsets mean that days are very long and it hardly gets dark.

Winter is a complete contrast. The days are very short and the sun is low in the sky. The light is often poor, but on cold sunny days it can be very clear and the afternoon sunsets are beautifully soft and colourful. The following long nights are crystal clear with spectacular views of the stars and the white streak of the aptly-named Milky Way. A bonus this year has been good views of the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Not as spectacular as the view from Arctic regions, but impressive even so.

'The Northern Lights' - watercolour - 13 x 18 cm

Ackergill Tower

"Winter Light on Ackergill Tower" - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm


Scotland has many examples of tower houses, dating from medieval times to the 17th Century. They consist of tall, tower-shaped structures, with thick stone walls and small doors and windows. Surrounding the tower there would have been wooden service buildings and maybe a curtain wall or stockade. They were the strongholds of clan chieftains and local warlords at a time when parts of Scotland were fairly lawless.

Ackergill Tower seems a bit unusual to me in that it stands in an area of flat land next to the sea. Usually tower houses were built on rocky promontories or on higher ground. Perhaps the surrounding land was marshy at one time, which would make approach more difficult.
Even if it wasn't good for defence, it is ideal for the present hotel, which stands at the end of two miles of sandy beach, with a view out across the bay. 


Breaking Waves at Wick Harbour

"Breaking Waves at Wick Harbour" - watercolour - 18 x 26 cm

Another painting of waves. Wick harbour is usually quite sheltered. It lies in a bay which faces east, so it's protected from northerly and westerly gales. On this occasion though, the wind was from the east and the waves were crashing over the breakwater, sending a heavy swell up the river.