Refresh your spirit and choose the remotest, wildest and least-inhabited corner of the British Isles for your sketching/painting holiday in Scotland, amidst the moody, majestic scenery of the far North...
The far Northwest - further than most people have ever heard of, let alone visited - is one of the last true wilderness regions in Europe. Now with global 'Geopark' status, these rocks are believed to be the oldest in the world and looking at the landscape, it is easy to imagine the scene unchanged since the dawn of time. Yet this ancient, primeval land, where golden eagles soar above heather-clad mountains, has seen human habitation since Man first colonised these isles. The remains of their cottages, byres and much earlier 'brochs' can be seen in the remotest corners, firing the imagination with images of a simple, yet harsh life living off the land which at first glance appears so empty, although it has a rich and diverse ecology.
In pockets of original Caledonian forest, rare mammals such as the Scottish wildcat and pine marten maintain their final stronghold, while the shoreline is home to families of seals, often seen clumsily hoisting themselves onto rocks for a spot of sunbathing or fixing their big, brown eyes on the fishing boats in Lochinver harbour. The elusive otter, now on the increase, is notoriously difficult to spot although the locals will tell you you're almost sure of a sighting on a summer evening as they frolic playfully amongst the rocks of the river Inver.
While the area is steeped in history and the proud locals guard their culture and traditions, a painting holiday to this region is mostly about the incredible landscape: seeing it, smelling it, feeling it.
My West Coast programmes run from Lochinver in Sutherland and Achilitibuie, Ross-shire. These small villages are 36 miles and 26 miles north of Ullapool. Just 18 miles apart via the 'Wee Mad Road', public transport is scant in this area so even if you bring a car (strongly recommended) you should base yourself in the appropriate village to join the holiday.
You may decide to tie in a sketching week with time exploring further afield, or to bring along a non-painting partner. The area is a magnet to those keen on hill walking, climbing and fishing as well as simply relaxing in a peaceful environment with a few good books!
The two West Coast itineraries can also be combined to form a thorough, 2 week exploration of this unique region and I am always happy to advise on accommodation options.
The all-encompassing 'Sketch the 500' Journey starts and finishes in the Highland capital of Inverness and takes in a much wider variety of scenery and subjects.
In addition to these itineraries, sketching day trips and painting workshops are often available. Please get in touch to enquire about this possibility.
Many people have told me that they had never really 'seen' the landscape so completely as when they started to paint it, and that it has changed their whole way of looking. See the Northwest Highlands in a new light, in all its windswept, majestic, breathtaking glory, where the city seems a million miles away and Nature always has the final say.