A Tour of Dunbeath Strath

One of my favourite places in Caithness is Dunbeath Strath. It has such a variety of landscapes, from the broadleaved woodland of the lower section to the treeless moorland higher up. This view is from that open country, looking down on the deep gorge below.

 "A Moorland Gorge, Dunbeath" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm

The river has been dammed here to create a pool for fishing.

 "Refelctions, Dunbeath Strath" - acrylic - 20 x 25 cm

Further down the gorge becomes deeper and narrower at a point called 'Prisoner's Leap'. There is a legend that a man was told that he would be set free if he could jump over the gap, on the assumption that he would fall to his death. Incredibly, he is said to have succeeded and thus gained his freedom.

"Prisoner's Leap, Dunbeath Strath" - watercolour - 35 x 25 cm

The lower part of the strath is more gentle in character, from the old coaching inn at Milton to the point where the river runs into the sea at the village of Dunbeath.

 "The Old Milton Inn, Dunbeath Strath" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm


  1. What a beautiful series of paintings! I am so glad that the prisoner who jumped over the gap actually succeeded in reaching the other side - and freedom. You have lots of interesting anecdotes woven through your paintings, Keith; perhaps, some day, you should collect the paintings and the stories together in a book. I would definitely be one of your first customers.

  2. It's a project that I've had in mind for a while Diane, but I don't seem to get around to it. Perhaps I'll find time this winter.

  3. Good morning Keith!... I was thrilled to visit this morning and find this sumptuous visual feast for the eye!

    Your varied menu of landscapes in this post are filled with drama and breath-taking beauty. The landscape indeed has a story to tell... and (as we both enjoy) take the time to asssimilate and include the historical details which we have discovered to create a fuller "view" of what we see before us.

    A pity you can't find the time to create a book project which records these aspects. They do add appeal to your work... and a sense of personal satisfaction and achievement when you hold that book in your hands. Food for thought perhaps... you know best!

    I am paticularly drawn to the "Reflections" piece for its strong composition and sheer beauty created through your layering of rich colour across the entire painting! A gem... amongst gems!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    1. Good Morning Bruce, I do want to create a book but I think some of my plans have been too ambitious. It would probably be better to start with a small project and see how it goes.

      I thought you would like the "Reflections..." piece.

      All the best,

  4. Lovely pictures Keith. The reflections really struck me, they are beautifully done!!

  5. Excellent collection here Keith, especially admired "Prisoner's Leap". Great feeling of being in the place.

    1. Thank you Ray, I'm glad you got some of the feeling of the drama.


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