Friday, 21 July 2017

Machir Bay to Kilchiaran

Lots of ravens and choughs behind Machir Bay and eider ducks and chicks playing in the surf on the beach. Hares and  a calling corncrake; buzzard and peregrines followed by tea and cake at Rockside.

Julia Garner - Summer exhibition

Well the exhibition is finally up at Mae's Tearooms and Gallery in Uldale. Here are just a few shots of the show - thanks to all those that came to the preview - it was a very pleasant evening and thanks to Mae's for hosting the event.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Ballygrant to An Claddach, Islay

We call this 'The guaranteed otter' walk and once again the walk lived up to its name! Lovely views of a golden eagle in a silvery light too. Burnet moths; dark green fritillaries; roe deer; speckled wood; red deer; greater skull cap; cow wheat; eggar moth; emperor moth caterpillar and seals ....the list goes on!

Kildalton cross, Islay.

Kildalton Cross is one of the finest early Christian crosses in Scotland, the High Cross of Kildalton, is closely related to three major crosses in Iona, St John's, St Martin's and St Oran's and dates from the second half of the 8th century. The cross stands 2.65 metres in height, with arms 1.32 metres across. It is fortunate the local grey-green epidiorite stone, a single slab of which was used for the Cross, is not only very hard rock, but also seems to be resistant to lichens for, although somewhat weathered, the main features can still be identified. (

After walking up Beinn Bheigier a quick visit to Kildalton Cross, with lovely blue skies! 

Beinn Bheigier, Islay.

The next walk was up Beinn Bheigier. Parked up at Claggain Bay and then followed the track up to the summit. Good views of a buzzard flying with an adder in its talons amongst other things!

Top left; looking up to Beinn Bheigier.
Top right; Claggain Bay
Others ; summit views.
Drinker moths; golden plover; emperor moth caterpillar; small pearl-bordered fritillary; heather; golden ringed dragonfly and fir club moss.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Gelli print patchwork

Three different patchworks from prints that weren't good enough in their own right, but combined they are quite pretty. Sorry for the poor quality pictures - it was a bit late to take them really!


New yellow horned-poppy record!

The next day was spent walking from Bowmore, along the coast,  to Laggan Point. The highlight of the day was finding a big stand of yellow horned-poppy which has since been confirmed as a new to the vice-county of Islay, Jura and Colonsay. The closest record previously was from 2001 from Mull and Kintyre.

Another highlight was the otter that popped up while stopped for lunch together with the usual seals, black guillemots, dunlin, fulmar, a juvenile golden eagle and large flocks of twite.

Eel grass and Japweed seaweed.

Monday, 17 July 2017

From Killinallan towards the base of Bholsa, Islay.

...and back to blogging the Islay trip ...This time approaching Bholsa from Killinallan. A walk of twenty miles plus a little. Lots of dark green fritillaries, common blues and meadow brown butterflies, common lizards and a dead ferret! Apparently ferrets are on the island - introduced in the 1980s but it was unusual to find one so far away from the two main (declining) feral populations.

Spectacular coastal scenery. 

Common blue, garden tiger, common lizard and dark green fritillary. 

West Beach, Silloth.

While I'm trying to catch up on the family's trip to Islay, I still need to blog today ...a quick walk out on a lovey evening.

....and Rocky enjoyed himself too. 

The Isle of Jura.

The next days walk was the classic Jura - from Feolin Ferry port north along the track below the Paps of Jura and then cutting down, by what we call the 'dragonfly pond, to the coral beaches and back along the coast to the ferry.

The views...
The wildlife....

The plants (elongated sundew and bog pimpernel)....

The insects ( six-spot burnets; golden-ringed dragonfly and speckled wood) ...

.......and the water. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Ardnave point and Saligo Bay, Islay.

 Not the brightest of days, but cracking views.
Ardnave point.

Saligo and 'The Opera House'. 

Bunnahabhain to Ruvaal and on to Mala Bholsa.

This is the first in a series of short blogs from Steve and Tom's post A-levels holiday fortnight on Islay...some of us had to stay at home and work! They obviously had a splendid time with weather to match on most days. The first walk was from Bunnahabhain up to the lighthouse at Ruvaal and then on to Mala Bholsa (127m); total 22 miles for the round walk. Highlights included the lots of common blue butterflies, a male merlin chasing a pipit, lovely stromatolites (pre Cambrian - microbial colonies) and spectacular views.

Water lilies; heath-spotted orchid; white stonecrop; grass of parnassus. 

Four spot chaser; common blue; dark green fritillary; common blue; burnet moth and common hawker. 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The Sea Post Project

Following my blog on the 13th May this year discussing my plans for a sea post - here it is. I'd been reluctant to do it as I wasn't sure how it was going to work ....but I thoroughly enjoyed it and have another three posts waiting to be adorned with shells and weed.

The posts of the oyster beds on the Solway.
Experimenting with needle feting.

Preparing the posts 
The Sea Post...

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Summer exhibition - Mae's tearoom and Gallery, Uldale

Well I think things are coming together - all the paintings are dry and strung....I just hope someone turns up!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Pembrokeshire flowers...

....the second in an attempt to loosen up ....I may need to buy some more canvases! This was based on a photograph of Strumble Head but the lighthouse didn't work so it was removed and now it's just a random piece of Pembrokeshire coast! Enjoying the acrylics but you certainly have to work quickly!

Islay and Jura highlights....

Well Steve and Tom don't seem to be having too bad a time! Here are some of the highlights so far, I'll blog individual walks etc when they get back with all the pics .....


Monday, 10 July 2017

Carn Llidi - a clearing storm.

Although I'm happy painting the way I do I'd still like to loosen up - so here was an attempt to do this - a quick way of painting, but heavy on the paint!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Low Force to High Force - Teesdale - a spectacular summer flora.

A very pleasant walk alongside the River Tees. Driving over from Alston to Teesdale the melancholy thistle stands were spectacular to say the least! Down in the dale the summer flowers were out and the bank sides spectacular. An abundance of meadowsweet, red clover, harebells, greater burnet, alpine bistort, ragged robin, shrubby cinquefoil, devil's bit scabious, bog asphodel, common rockrose and betony ...and more.

Left: above High Force and High Force
Right: Low Force and between High and Low Force.

Meadow, bog asphodel, harebell, juniper berries, betony and greater burnet.

Mountain pansies ....past their best but I can never resist them! 
Field sketch above High Force.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Across Loch Gorm, Islay

Loch Gorm can look very blue in the right light....this was one of those days, with a storm clearing behind 'The Opera House'.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Gowk Bank NNR, Gilsland

A quick afternoon out at Gowk Bank. This little  haymeadow is host to over 185 plant species and is one of the most diverse in northern England. The  populations of eye-bright is one of the largest in the UK.

Gowk Bank and the River Irthing.
Tway blade; bog asphodel; melancholy thistle; ragged robin: meadow sweet.
Eye-bright; large patches of eye-bright; fragrant orchid.
Ringlet and chimney sweeper moth.

Green-veined white.