Why now? Why not?

I’m often asked why I run the Scottish itineraries just once a year, and never in the middle of ‘summer’. There are several answers, but the simplest ones are:

1. I have a lot of itineraries, and others which I would like to introduce in time. If they all ran more than once a year, I’d run out of months! I’d rather do a trip once, with a reasonable number of people than twice, with the minimum number and at the expense of another itinerary.

2. Weather in the far north west is unpredictable, the only certainty being our ‘summer’ tends to fall at the beginning of the year, between April (sometimes) and June (usually). July has historically been our ‘rainy season’, so while I have run trips during this month, anticipating a wash-out is more stress than I need. Of course, weather patterns are changing all over the world but the ‘safest’ time remains, for this area, late May and early June.

I have introduced the new ‘Bonnie Broom’ itinerary to run the week immediately preceding ‘Windswept Wilderness’ to hopefully coincide with our best weather but also so that the two trips can be taken together as a longer, two-week itinerary. This year – and with initially rather cool, but dry weather throughout, the lovely Cindra did just that. Travelling all the way from Singapore it made her journey much more worthwhile and with each trip covering an adjoining, but distinctly different area, she did not have to repeat any sketching spot. Perhaps she might have liked to, though, as they are all amazing!

Both trips were wonderful, the participants both talented and great company. Some of their sketches will be added to the ‘clients’ sketches’ here on the website but in the meantime I simply can’t resist sharing a couple of beautiful reviews they left for me.

Don’t dither, do it! I really can’t thank Mary King enough for getting me back painting with a vigour and freedom that I haven’t had before. Her teaching style is hands free and persuasive, recognising and developing the very varied styles of the six amateurs on the trip.

From the very first email correspondence to the ‘last supper’ in Lochinver, Mary went the extra mile to ensure we got to see and sketch the very best of the countryside of NW Scotland. This took us to many peaceful places off the beaten track that were simply stunning.

I promise you, you’ll return home with a book full of sketches with some paintings you can be proud of and a shed load of memories from a week very well spent.’


Mary knew these parts like the back of her hand so I felt privileged to be part of a small group being led to some of the most beautiful and remote locations to sketch and paint. It was incredible that with guidance, short exercises, and trying new things that a sketchbook began to fill up making for very special memories. I was excited to learn new ways with composition, colour and techniques and I really enjoyed the company of my fellow sketchers too.

I’d just moved home so was worried this was not a well timed break. In fact it was completely the opposite. It was an amazing way to de-stress and recharge.

I learnt so much from Mary not just about capturing scenes but also how to respect and tread lightly in the locations she shared with us. Mary’s passion for preserving the wonderful habitat in and around Lochinver influenced all aspects of the trip.

Taking this holiday was one of the best decisions I have made. I feel all aspects of my painting improved and I really enjoyed spending a week with like minded lovely people. I look forward to my next trip.’


The full reviews, along with others, can be seen on the ‘Responsible Travel’ website where I advertise many of the itineraries. As there isn’t a dedicated page on this site, I’ll just have fun sharing them here from time to time, as this lovely feedback makes all the hard work worthwhile!